By Gen Cohen
By Gen Cohen
Before we dive into this awesome list of 7 bike trailers for kids, it's important to remember to protect those baby blues with our kids' rubber sunglasses. They're light, comfortable, and they keep your junior's eyes safe from harmful UV rays!
By Gen Cohen
This list is popping with inspiration, just like our fun kids' sunglasses are popping with color, and they fit perfectly under the tree, too! Check out our blue color changing sunglasses that will delight kids of all ages! Cute Christmas ornament crafts and gifts kids can make from our favorite craft blogs.
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.
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!
By Gen Cohen
Your baby shower helped supply you with what you need for the first year of baby's life, but what about when you start the toddler years? Here are 11 must-have products to help you make it through with ease. Pssst! Be sure to read this list of 11 must-have toddler products all the way to the end!
Make handwashing even easier by attaching a faucet extender to the bathroom sink. The Aqueduck Single Handle Faucet Extender is a two-piece system that brings the water flow closer to the front of the sink and provides an extension to the faucet lever so kids can turn the water on and off easily after going potty. ($24.95)
Make sure those first steps are well supported. The soft soles of Robeez Shoes for toddlers promote balance by flexing and bending with each step. As a bonus, the elastic ankle feature ensures the tiny shoes stay in place, even on the most curious toddler. ($26)
Bye-bye bottles. Growing kids need to learn how to hold and drink from their own cups. Start with a Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 cup that features a soft silicone spout that makes it easy to transition from a nipple to a straw. The break-proof cup is molded to fit tiny toddler hands. ($7.99/2-count)
As soon as the potty becomes interesting, introduce your toddler to his or her first pair of washable big kid underwear. Gerber Training Pants feature covered elastic waistlines, making them easy for kids to pull up and down. Tucked inside are 100 percent cotton panels to absorb accidents. These training pants are available in sizes 18 months, 2T and 3T. ($15.99)
Bed Side Rail
After you've upgraded your crib escapee to a big kid bed, keep her safe with a protective side rail. The Babies R Us Extra Long Swing Down Bedrail features a 20-inch tall protective barrier that stretches 56-inches along the edge of the bed. When morning comes, simply fold down the rail until nap time. ($32.99)
Make evening and morning visits to the potty simpler with two-piece PJs that pull off and on easily. Carter's offers several adorable cotton top and polyester pants sets to keep kids warm and ready to use the potty at a moment's notice. ($15.99)
Potty Training Seat
Keep your little one safe and cozy during their time on the big potty. The Disappearing Potty Seat attaches to your existing toilet seat and tucks up into the lid via magnets when not in use. The slow-closing lid keeps little fingers from getting pinched. ($49.95–$59.95)
Playing in the pool with a toddler can often mean frequent potty breaks. Keep trips to the bathroom quick and simple by slipping your little one into a two-piece swimsuit. The Cabana Life Swim Shorts and Rashguard Set also offers long sleeves for optimal sun protection. ($32.90)
Once your toddler discovers how to make those little legs move, he'll be everywhere! The Graco Molded Step Stool makes it easy for him to reach the big potty, wash his hands at the sink, help you at the kitchen counter, and get in and out of his big kid bed. This stool offers a no-slip grip for tiny toes to stay put and a non-skid bottom to keep the stool securely in place. ($14.19)
Bathtub Spout Cover
Rub a dub dub, if you don't want any bumps in the tub, cover the faucet. The Kel-Gar Tubbly Bubbly elephant- or hippo-shaped bathtub spout cover allows water to flow while protecting your toddler's fingers from hot metal faucet spouts or accidental bruises and bumps when playing near the fixture during bath time.($12.59)
Table Booster Seat
When your baby outgrows his high chair, move into an elevated booster seat. The Graco Blossom Booster Seat features safety straps to keep kids in place and a removable back insert to help safely position your child as he grows and fills the seat. This portable booster seat is perfect for use at home, in restaurants, or on visits to see friends and family. ($29.99)
...and bonus item, of course unbreakable toddler sunglasses from ro·sham·bo baby, like these teal kids' wayfarer sunglasses (pictured)!
By Gen Cohen
Have a fun and stress-free vacation with baby by navigating on-the-go naps, time differences and cramped hotel rooms
Just as important as what you pack—and you can check out get-ready checklists here—in my opinion, is how you unpack.
Do it immediately
As soon as you arrive (unless someone in the family is overly cranky or tired), set up your room to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby in the playpen or hotel crib with a pile of toys and occupy an older kid with a coloring book. Or have your partner take the older sibling out to get the lay of the land while you unpack. Settling in will help you remain organized (and sane) throughout your stay.
Designate a baby-changing station
Bring a box of wipes, lay out a changing pad (I like to put a disposable changing pad on top of a hotel towel) and stack a bunch of diapers in one area. That way, you won't need to chase down the diaper bag when that first big poop occurs.
Create a play space...
Stash toys and books on a low shelf or in a drawer, or keep all the playthings in one corner. Creating a place for your baby to play will make the room feel homey and keep it from looking like a disaster area.
...and a kitchen
Even if your room doesn't have a kitchen or bar area, establish a spot where you'll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks, formula and dish soap. Sometimes the bathroom is best if it has the only sink in the room.
Your baby needs her naps, but you don't want to spend your whole vacation watching her snooze. Follow these strategies for squeezing in that daytime sleep:
When my daughter, Karissa, was a baby, she wouldn't nap in a strange crib while on vacation. So we planned our days around taking long walks with her napping in a stroller. Some momsadvise bringing the lightest, most compact umbrella stroller on vacation to save room, but I always pack a stroller that reclines completely to make stroller slumber easier.
Wear your baby
If your baby doesn't sleep well in a stroller, try a front carrier (like the BabyBjorn) or baby backpack. If you've never used one at home but think it might be convenient on vacation, try it out a few times before you leave. Not all babies will like it, and it might be too hard on your back.
Go for a scenic drive
Try taking leisurely drives to check out the area while your baby naps in the car seat. And on some trips, you can coordinate drive time between destinations with sleep time.
Take turns nap-sitting
If your tot isn't an in-transit sleeper, don't be afraid to schedule naps back in the room. While it's a different vacation rhythm than you're probably used to, an a.m. break and midday siesta can be relaxing for you, too. Just consider your baby's napping style when booking accommodations; if you'll need to return to the room often, a hotel near the beach may be a better bet than a spot farther away, even if it's a bit pricier. If you can, book a room with a balcony or patio so the parent "on duty" can enjoy the outdoors, too.
One of the most worrisome things about traveling with a baby is getting your tot to sleep in a new place. Here's how to up your odds of at least a few peaceful nights:
Do some trial runs
If you're bringing a portable travel bed, have your baby sleep in it for a few nights before you leave. That way, it will feel like a familiar, comfy spot to go night-night on vacation.
Give it a few days
While it can be tempting to throw in the blankie and drive home in the middle of a sleepless vacation night with an inconsolable baby, I implore you to power through. Eventually, babies will adjust to their new surroundings and schedule, and sleep. If you can survive a couple of nights, I am (almost) willing to promise happy vacation days ahead.
Book the right room(s)
If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.
Stick to the routine
If your baby's bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.
Instead of expecting your infant to shift her internal clock and adjust to a new time zone, shift your day: Stay up later or get up earlier than usual by a few hours.
Meals on Wheels
Sampling local cuisine and splurging on restaurant meals are vacation pleasures I refuse to give up. Dining with babies can be done.
Breakfast in Bed
Because our times to swim, hike, shop or visit an aquarium are limited by morning and afternoon naps, it makes sense for the entire family to eat something quick in the hotel room. So we pack plenty of ready-made breakfast foods like mini-bagels, cereal bars and fruit (bananas, apples).
If your baby drinks formula, it helps to pack more than you think you'll need. To save space, empty powdered formula into zipper-lock plastic bags. Or order heavy staples like diapers and formula—even baby shampoo—from a site such as diapers.com or Babiestravellite.com that will ship to your destination (and since you won't have to carry the formula, consider splurging on the ready-to-feed type).
Nurse wherever you feel comfortable
You can breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be.
Bend the rules
To enjoy dinners out, you may have to encourage what you would normally consider bad behavior. I don't let my kids watch TV while eating at home, but we always bring portable DVD players when we eat out. Putting on some Sesame Street for them allows us to actually taste the food we're shelling out big bucks for.
Sure, a romantic dinner would normally be at 8 p.m., but by dining out at 5:30, you'll likely have an empty restaurant, room to park your stroller, and a short wait for your food. Alternatively, if your newborn loves to sleep in her car seat, make later reservations and then feed her a bottle or nurse her while you wait for your appetizers. Hopefully, she'll be out for the rest of the meal.
Now, go enjoy! Toss out all your old ideas about what a vacation should be and embrace the new craziness that is traveling with a baby. Laugh at the fact that you're at the local playground by 6 a.m. and in bed for the night at 8 p.m. Consider all the gear and baby-lugging as great vacation exercise. And then savor going back home to "regular" life that much more.
By Gen Cohen
Read the heartfelt article below to get your autism facts straight and to learn 10 things every child with autism (and their parents) wishes you knew.
Originally shared on autism speaks
Kristi Campbell is a semi-lapsed career woman with about 18 years of marketing experience in a variety of national and global technology companies. While she does work part-time, her passion is writing and drawing stupid-looking pictures for her blog Finding Ninee, focused on finding humor and support for her special needs son.
The word autism entered my heart as a whisper. It later entered my brain as a possibility. Later still, it entered my life. I think I knew, long before I knew.
I worried, bought a book on autism, devoured it, and then felt like that must not be what my son has. He was nothing like the boy in the book. Nothing. ”Maybe,” I thought, “he just has a language delay.”
I waited for him to start speaking more. For him to start playing in the way that he was supposed to play. He did play though, unlike the boy in the book, so certainly, his issues were different. Less “severe?”
Never mind that he had an egg-sized bruise on his forehead for six weeks at the age of 18 months from banging his head on the floor. As quickly as that behavior started, it went away. I stopped worrying about it. I mean, it no longer existed. Sure, he ran laps around the house. But only when he was tired. Don’t all kids do that? Don’t they all twirl their hair, around and around and around, while drinking a bottle?
I’ve mentioned before that parents and friends assured us that Tucker would catch up, and that his delays were likely due to me being at home with him as a baby.
They were wrong.
I was wrong.
I remember one day, when I looked at my son and with a fearful, time-stopping heart, I wondered whether he was deaf. He wasn’t responding to me that day. Then, I gave him a little at-home test, and he responded. I let myself believe that everything was fine. What did I know? I had no other child in the house to compare him to. He loves to snuggle, and, from what I’d read, autistic children do not. He looks at me in the eyes. Deeply. With meaning and intent. I’d already learned from Dr. Google that children with autism don’t make eye contact…
Here. Four years later. Does Tucker look like anything other than a little boy having fun in the snow?
Autism doesn't look like anything but the way it looks. It doesn't look like Rain Man. It doesn't always include hand-flapping, rocking, or issues with language. Sometimes, it does. But, sometimes, it doesn't.
Last night, I reached out to my IRL PAC tribe.
I asked them what they wish the world knew about autism and special needs and based on their feedback, I compiled this list of 10 things every child with autism (and their parents) wishes you knew:
10 Things Special Needs and Autism Parents Wish You Knew:
- People don’t need to feel awkward when they’re around my son. Yeah, they may need to treat him a little differently, but I wish they wouldn’t be weirded out.
- Not all autism is the same.
- People seem to think that because my son isn’t like the one single other person they know on the spectrum, that he must not be autistic.
- These kids love. They need love. They are wonderful and bring enormous joy and laughter to those who love them.
- Knowing one child with autism doesn’t mean anything really – they’re all so different. Please don’t tell me my son doesn’t have it because he looks so different from the other kid you know on the spectrum.
- Kids with special needs are smart. Talented. Creative, and thoughtful. It may not be obvious all the time – their minds work differently.
- If my daughter is making strange noises, feel free to look. She’s just making them because she’s excited. Please don’t stand there and gape at us with your mouth hanging open.
- If you see my son in a grocery store, he may be head nuzzling, chewing on the corner of his shirt, or spinning. He’s anxious. I will not scold him, so please do not look at me as if I should. He can’t help how his body receives stimuli. He is trying to cope with the way his body is affected by his surroundings.
- From onlookers who think I am not addressing my child’s odd behaviors: I ask for a little empathy. Don’t judge. Try to understand that his environment strongly affects him.
- Please accept our kids the way that you assume we will accept yours.
I think I’m speaking for all of us when I say that what we really want you to know, what we’re screaming out loud, is that we, as mothers, are both terrified and brave.
Just like you.
That while our children may act differently from what you’re familiar with, they are our normals. That they’re full of emotion, fierce love, tender hearts, and hope.
Our special needs kids are here, on purpose, and OutLoud.
Even when they’re silent.