News: cleaning

10 WTF Surprises of Being a New Mom That You'll Never Read in Any Book

By Gen Cohen

Like most women, I was nervous about becoming a mom and worried a lot about what it would be like. I tried to prepare myself as best I could, and while I didn't read all the baby books, I definitely asked around. Before I gave birth, I knew I might be surprised by the challenges of breastfeeding and the weird noises my newborn would make in her sleep. I heard all about the squeeze bottle I'd soon keep by the toilet. And I was warned to get my sleep in now.

But there are some things I realized soon after becoming a mom that no one ever told me and I certainly didn't find while flipping through What to Expect When You're Expecting, or even when reading articles online chronicling the "37 Most Shocking Things You Never Knew About Motherhood." Here, 10 of the real WTF surprises and pieces of advice for first time moms.

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26 Easy, Wholesome Baby Food Recipes

By Gen Cohen

Check out this list from Parenting.com of 26 Wholesome Baby Food Recipes!

Easy, healthy snacks for babies and toddlers beyond Cheerios and bananas, from Boddler Bites: Food in a Flash.

Tags: Baby Food

From the editors of Parenting.com

A is for Avocado
Chop peeled avocado into bite-sized pieces. Puree crackers or chips in food processor. Pour over avocado pieces and gently toss.

Hoping to raise a natural baby? Read how!

B is for Beans
Puree (canned, rinsed) white beans with a little milk and stir into Alfredo sauce. Stir into prepared pasta.

C is for Cottage Cheese
Stir into scrambled eggs, prepared quinoa or pasta sauce.

D is for Desserts!
Like chocolate-covered banana treats—Drizzle organic, melted, semi-sweet chocolate chips over banana slices. 

E is for English Muffin
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spread light canned tuna (drained & mixed with a little plain yogurt) on English muffin. Top with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 

F is for Fish Sticks
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Slice ½-pound cod, halibut or salmon fillets into 1-inch "fish stick" strips. On small plate, spread out 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. In small bowl, mix 2 eggs and 2 Tbsp. milk together. Lightly coat fish sticks in flour, then dredge in egg mixture and cover with ground, organic potato chips. Bake on greased baking sheet for 6-7 minutes per side, until cooked through. 

G is for Grapefruit
Cut grapefruit in half (crosswise), remove seeds and use serrated knife to separate sections. Sprinkle each side with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. maple syrup. Broil on tray for 5 minutes. Scrape out grapefruit sections and serve warm. Top with vanilla yogurt if desired.  

H is for Hummus
Spread on crackers, toast or pita bread. 

I is for International Food!
Like French store bought crepes (in produce section) spread with any of the following and roll up: cream cheese, jam, diced fruit, yogurt, grated cheese, Nutella, nut butters, ricotta cheese, maple syrup or honey. Cut into pieces. 

J is for Jicama
Mix plain yogurt with mild salsa and use dip for jicama sticks. 

Preparation tip: Peel jicama with paring knife from top to bottom. Once peeled, rinse and pat dry; then cut through the middle. Lay flat and cut into strips. Steam until tender (to avoid potential choking hazard for young Boddlers). For older Boddlers, it’s delicious raw. Tastes like sweet carrots.

K is for Kale
Make kale chips! Wash and de-stem one bunch of kale. Pat dry. Toss in 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, lightly coating both sides. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes on 300ºF. 

L is for Lemon Yogurt
Make lemon yogurt pancakes by preparing 1 cup whole grain pancake mix as directed. Stir in 1/2 cup lemon yogurt. Add a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries to batter, if desired. Cook as usual. 

M is for Milkshake
Make a berry milkshake by blending the following until smooth: 1 cup milk, 1 cup any flavor yogurt, 3/4 cup fresh/frozen berries and 1 tsp. honey. Add ground flaxseed or wheat germ if desired. 

N is for Nuts
Grind/chop and toss into cereal or yogurt. 

O is for Olives
Canned, jarred or fresh pitted olives. Rinse, drain and cut in quarters. 

P is for Pineapple
Mash diced pineapple pies with a little cream cheese. Spread on crackers.

Q is for Quinoa.
Make Quinoa Balls! Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 Tbsp. butter, ½ cup shredded cheese and pinch of salt. Let cool. Form into mini, bite-sized balls. 

R is for Ravioli
Cook (whole wheat, if possible) ravioli as directed. Stir in pasta sauce or jarred pesto. Cut into bite-sized pieces. 

S is for Sugar Snap Peas
In medium bowl, toss 2 cups sugar snap peas (fresh or frozen) with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 pinches of sea salt. Spread in one layer on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425ºF for 6-8 minutes. 

T is for Tomato Soup
Cook ¼ cup dry lentils or open organic canned beans (rinse and drain). Puree ¼ cup lentils or beans with 1 tsp. olive oil until smooth. Stir into warmed, canned or boxed organic low sodium tomato soup. Top with grated cheese. 

U is for Under the Sea!
Let your baby try seafood, like canned salmon. Open a can of salmon and drain. Stir 2 Tbsp. salmon into prepared mac n' cheese, prepared pasta or a mashed and buttered sweet potato.

V is for Veggie Burger
Heat according to package, top with cheese and/or spread on some avocado. 

W is for Watermelon
Make watermelon soup by pureeing two cups watermelon, 1 cup strawberries and 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt. Serve chilled. 

X is for Xmas Dishes!
Buy boxed (ideally, organic) stuffing mix and prepare as directed on package. Stir in cooked, drained spinach or kale.  

Y is for Yams
Steam yams with peeled, diced apples, until tender. Mash with a little butter. 

Z is for Zucchini
Make your own zucchini fries. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice whole zucchini into "French fry" strips. Place strips on greased baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and serve. 

These yummy ideas were taken from Food in a Flash: Boddler Bites

As these homemade baby food ideas prove, snacks for Junior don't have to be a challenge, just like sun protection is easy as pie with Ro·Sham·Bo Baby sunglasses!

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Cheater's Guide to a Clean House

By Gen Cohen

Having kids and a clean house may seem like an impossible dream. But with our cleaning tricks, you'll satisfy even the neatest of neat freaks.

From the editors of Parenting.com

 

Get over your high standards

That's the main obstacle to a clean and pleasant house, not the spitup stains and spilled Cheerios. "We say we don't have the time to clean because perfectionism takes over," says Marla Cilley, whose website, FlyLady.net, offers housecleaning advice. "Or we burn out because we do too much in one room. Instead, just set the timer and see what you can get done."

Set the timer for 15 minutes

That's about how long most children can stay busy on a task or content in the bouncy seat while you tackle a chore. Divvy up your housecleaning into 15-minute projects and aim to do two or three a day, when you can squeeze them into your schedule. Besides, it's a psychological boost to have a limit on cleaning.

Guilt inducer: You're not Martha Stewart

It might seem very June Cleaver, but moms today still feel like they have to be quintessential homemakers, even when they have so many other responsibilities. Competition between moms also adds to stress.

Ditch the guilt: Remember that your baby needs you more than your furniture needs polishing. "It's important that your home is a safe environment where your child can learn and explore. It doesn't have to be ready for the president to visit," says Aviva Pflock, coauthor of "Mommy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters Most, and Raise Happier Kids."

Get the kids involved

Take advantage of the fact that your kids want to be with you every waking moment and recruit them for housework. Just be sure to stick to the 15-minute rule or they'll start to mess up what you've already cleaned!

Toddlers can become expert dusters with electromagnetic cloths, baby wipes, or small feather dusters. Give them sponges and they can wipe off the shower stall, tub, or sink. And don't forget the simplest way to tidy up: picking up toys.

Preschoolers can empty small trash baskets into a bigger bag. They can also clean windows using a spray bottle of water mixed with a squirt of lemon juice or vinegar, and they can scrub corners and small spaces with a toothbrush or nail brush. Or have them help with floors: They can use a handheld vacuum or a kid-size broom (available at toy stores).

School-age kids can vacuum carpets, sweep floors, and clean sinks with disinfectant or bleach wipes. They can also learn about the environment by putting out items for recycling.

An ounce of prevention

Save cleaning time by keeping big messes from happening in the first place. A room-by-room guide:

Kitchen
Wipe up spills right away and don't leave sauce-covered spoons or greasy pans for too long -- they'll muck up the sink, and you'll have to scrub it down, too.

Bathroom
Wipe the sink each morning after use (dried-out toothpaste is a pain to remove). Keep a sponge in the cabinet for handy access. Squeegee the shower walls and door every couple of days to prevent mildew and water stains.

Living room/dining room/entrance
Invest in an outside doormat. Have family members shed shoes when they enter (feet drag in 80 percent of dirt in the home). Spray cloth-covered furniture with Scotchgard or other stain repellent (if not already treated) for easy cleanup

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