Thursday, November 29, 2007

Keep Slinging Through the Snow!

Just because it is getting cold doesn't mean that you have to stop baby-wearing for the winter. Check out the Peekaru Original- it is a fleece vest that zips over your baby carrier to keep you both warm. It fits comfortably over most carriers. It is a green purchase as well, as the Peekaru is made from 85% recycled fleece.

Read more about it as well as reviews here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cupcake Lunchbox Solution!

Ever want to send a leftover cupcake to school, but not sure what to put it in without icing getting everywhere? Well, the ingenious people at the Container Store have a solution.

It holds a standard-size cupcake and prevents it from moving while in transit. The airtight seal preserves the freshness. It's the perfect lunchtime companion for kids and grown-ups alike! $2.99 each.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Celeb Baby Shower for Charity

From US Magazine we learn that Nicole Richie and Joel Madden are planning a baby shower- but don't want gifts for themselves. Instead they are asking for cribs, strollers and stuffed animals to the new Richie Madden Children’s Foundation. The foundation will support mothers in need. Next month, the charity will donate 100 Mom-to-Be kits to the Los Angeles Free Clinic in addition to the gifts collected at the shower.

My question is this: If celebs aren't concerned with their fame and fortune and really do want to do something good for others- why do they always insist on making a new organization in their own name? Why not have people bring gifts to the shower for established and already running charities? I'll tell you why, because in the end it still is just a little bit about them. But well wishes to them for making a great effort. If you are looking for great children's foundations to donate to this holiday season, try one of these:

March of Dimes
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Toys For Tots
Save the Children

Showing In Style: Winter

Do you have a fancy Thanksgiving, Holiday or New Years gig around the corner? Fear not. There is plenty of formal maternity wear for winter available. Check out some cute options:

Emerald Silk Dress from Mimi Maternity $99

For elegance from Isabella Oliver, the Twist Dress $155

For a splurge from A Pea in the Pod
Beaded Chiffon Dress $425

And a bit more casual, but still festive option:
Red snowflake sweater from Motherhood $20

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Heart Finger Puppets!

I found some adorable finger puppets this summer forgot to blog about them until today, when I saw more adorable finger puppets from a totally different place.

Manhattan Toy: one of many many cute sets:

From Puppet Universe: Pirate Finger Puppets!

Dwell Baby's Finger Puppets

Friday, November 9, 2007

Breastfeeding and IQ Boosting

Recent research performed at Avshalom Caspi at King's College in London found that babies that carry a specific gene get extra benefit (specifically IQ) when they are breastfeed- than those who lack the gene. The benefits from breastfeeding any baby are still enormous; being protected against childhood cancer, obesity, allergies and infections- are not be belittled here.

The authors looked at a gene called FADS2. They decided to follow this gene because it produces an enzyme that helps convert fatty acids into the polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachidonic acid). DHA accumulates in large amounts in the brain during the first two years of life and has been shown to help with brain development, although doctors are not yet sure why and how.

FADS2 has three variants, two of which have an allele called the "C allele". If your baby has the C allele breastfeeding will give them an average boost of 6.8 IQ points. If the this allele isn't present there is no noticeable benefit in IQ. Although it appears the odds your baby has this gene are in your favor- they say 90% of the population has the C allele.

Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychological and brain sciences in Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, and researcher in the study comments on the breakthrough, "The argument about intelligence has been about nature versus nurture for at least a century. We're finding that nature and nurture work together". That's what I like to hear- it's not nature versus nurture- it is a very very complex combination of them both.

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Yes, Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is a mere fortnight away and things are getting cold out! So what's the cute way to bundle up your bundle of joy? Here are a few options:

BearHands for Baby $15

Adorable LLBean Fleece Toddler hat $12

Nordic Fleece Baby Bunting by Hanna Anderson $54

Infant/Toddler Puffer Jacket $18

Thursday, November 8, 2007

First Lead Posioning, Now Comas?!

What has gotten into the toy market this year? First there are all those recalls for lead paint and now the Aqua Dots recall for GHB. This type of leak into the market is totally, absolutely unacceptable. What seems to be the funny part is that Wal-Mart had even selected it to be one of the top toys for the holiday season, and now it is being pulled from the shelves.

An advertisement for Aqua Dots (for those of you who haven't seem them) read:
Aqua Dots Super Studio is the super cool way to have fun! Wow your friends with unique designs using Aqua Dots beads. You be the artist! Arrange Aqua Dots in any pattern or design you want, spray with water and play! The secret is water magically makes the colorful dots stick together to create an awesome design! Simply make, spray and stay for hours of fun every day! They´re magic! No Heat, No glue, No Mess!

It does actually sound neat and fun, similar to those plastic beads that kids used to iron and melt together into different shapes and designs. But how on Earth did the manufactures manage to contaminate them with a compound that metabolizes into GHB?!

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid is used illegally under street names like Juice, Liquid Ecstasy, and as a date rape drug. Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN was quoted in their article, "In higher doses, it can cause people to go into a coma. It can cause seizures. It can cause something known as hypotonia, where all your muscles just become very flaccid. And it can cause people to become amnestic, ... which is why it became a date-rape drug". If you have Aqua Dots throw them out immediately. I think it is fair to say that we all hope that sometime soon we can regain trust in our toy manufactures, until then go ahead and be skeptical and keep your eyes and ears open for anything that may seem suspect.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

An Inspiration or Just Plain Crazy?

It seems to be everywhere I look lately, NYTimes, Women's Health Magazine, People and the tabloids... they all feature "Body After Baby!" spreads. Pictures and stories of women who exercised their hearts out during their pregnancies and jumped right back on it afterwards. The Times featured Paula Radcliffe who was out running the day before she gave birth to her daughter, and then returned to running 12 days after delivery. Women's Health featured Dara Torres who was back at the gym to prepare for a swim meet just a week and a half after delivery of her first child.

Even doctors are publishing on the topic lately. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada just updated its latest guidelines to say that failure to exercise during pregnancy may be associated with some risks. Dr. Gregory A. L. Davies, one of the principal authors says, "We're stressing the message that if you're not exercising, you need to start, and that message has never been said before. We point out in our guidelines that we're concerned that there is a small but growing amount of evidence that if you don't exercise in pregnancy, you're not helping yourself".

Sure serious athletes bounce back, and so do celebrities with personal trainers and chefs, but what about the rest of us? What should the average American woman aim for?

Renee Jeffreys, MSc, co-author of Fit to Deliver: An Innovative Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Program says,“With their physician’s clearance, all pregnant women should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on all or most of the days of the week, even if you are fairly new to exercise,”. This advice is echoed all over the internet. 30 minutes, most days. The most recommended exercises are walking, swimming and prenatal yoga. For resources on what is ok and what to avoid, check out, the SOCG's guidelines, and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

To Laugh, Perchance to Giggle

Having one of those days where you need a little pick me up? Perhaps the looming frenzy of the upcoming holidays is getting to you? (Christmas music on the radio already? Really?)

Here are two great, hilarious clips of babies laughing-- guaranteed to get you laughing and smiling as well.

Laughing Baby 1

Laughing Baby 2

Monday, November 5, 2007

Kids Making a Difference

If you are on the PTA and looking for some inspiration, check out's Elementary School of the Week posts.

This week they are highlighting Barbara Bush Elementary. This school has received awards from Keep America Beautiful, Keep Texas Beautiful, and the American Forest and Paper Association. The school has an average recycling rate of 237 lbs. of paper per student (are they bringing in their parent's papers from home?). However they are doing it, with that rate they are recycling rate is seven times the national average.

In just 18 months the students and teachers have:

• Avoided 48 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
• Avoided the use of 625 million BTU’s of energy use
• Saved 205 cubic yards of landfill waste
• Avoided the use of 434,000 gallons of water
• Allowed 4,836 tree seedlings to grow

Check out the school's website to learn about their corresponding curriculum and the on-site Nature Center which was designed to,

"have a natural area on school grounds where students may study physical features, native flora and fauna, and their inter- and interrelationships. To provide a natural outdoor laboratory for the stimulation of students’ inquisitive scientific curiosity. To help promote hands-on, minds-on learning into the numerous components of Gulf Coast ecosystems. To create an outdoor laboratory easily accessible for all students of Bush Elementary. "

Way to go to our all of our elementary schools that are making a difference!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Extreme Eco-Beds

I look forward to Thursday because of the Home and Garden section in the NYTimes. In their Currents slideshow, I cam across this:

This bed is named "Float" and sells with the mattress for $25,000. The company that sells it, Okooko, takes its name from the Maori word for “to cradle in arms”. Some cradle! While Okooko sells mattresses made of natural latex, bamboo and wool, and beds made of wood from sustainable forests managed by the New Zealand government. It also costs an arm and a leg. Technically, it is not actually a children's bed as I had originally thought, but if you are looking for an uber-environmentally bed that will grow with your children, here you go.