Thursday, August 28, 2008

Second Languages for Toddlers

I had never really put much thought into second language programs for toddlers until recently when a friend said that she enrolled her child into a Spanish program. This trend is spreading out to more and more cities and even more classes are being offered than ever before- aimed at toddlers! From Spanish to Japanese. I have always wanted to learn a second language so I think I will be signing my daughter up!

This next generation will be amazingly intelligent!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My daughter is Elmira from Tiny Toons!

I don't know how long this video will last on You Tube, but Elmira from Tiny Toons reminds me of my daughter. This video pretty much explains the relationship that my daughter has with dogs or any animal! Enjoy!

If you can find a better clip of how Elmira hugs and loves her animals please let me know!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The fool-proof baby shower gift under $75

So, you're invited to a baby shower. This can be very confusing! What to get the mom-to-be that also reflects the chic woman giving the gift can be a challenge. The worst is when the only thing left on a baby registry is pacifiers, a bottle and a diaper pail! No fear- we have a perfect gift for any budget that will make the mom-to-be wonder what she would have done without it!

For the under $75 budget we have the following perfect picks:
  1. The reversible stylish cart cover. This runs about $65. Pair this with the on-tray for a fab gift set!
  2. The take home outfit and blanket runs $64
  3. This sling is perfect alternative to a traditional carrier and comes in some very great designs. It will run about $49- $64 for this posh pod.
  4. A unique gift for mom or dad is the diaper dude that will only set you back $60.
  5. Another luxurious gift is the baby blanket. We have the perfect blanket that will make any mom melt and it will definitely get people asking "where did you get that?" It runs $58 for this amazing blanket.
Add a little something extra (maybe Trumpette Socks?) to any of these gifts to bump up your final cost to $75 and receive free shipping!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Baby Registry 101: Lesson #13- The exersaucer/ stationary entertainer

There are so many exersaucers on the market... how do you choose?
I remember when I went to register, I had no idea! But, when I started to compare some the different ones I saw a few things to help me choose. Here is a short list:
  • Choose one that has many interactive toys for baby to play with
  • Look for one that has a mirror
  • Ones that have sounds or music (but look for ones that the music can turn OFF!

Our favorite: Baby Einstein Stationary Entertainer
Why we love it: There are so many fun things for baby to play with. A mirror, a mini-book, sounds and colors, things to chew on-- Hours of fun!
  • It introduces Baby to 9 developmental, interactive toys to help develop important sensory and motor skills
  • Captivates child by introducing bi-lingual language into child's early learning vocabulary

Friday, August 22, 2008

Breakfast Foods

So a friend asked me the other day for ideas for a good toddler breakfast. Here are a few samples of what we eat each morning:
  • Morning Star Veggie sausage, yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Cereal, fruit and milk (My little one LOVES cheerios with milk- it just takes more time on my end!)
  • Special K waffles (strawberry) and milk
  • Fruit Smoothie (perfect for on-the-go)- milk, vanilla yogurt, fruit such as blueberries and banana. I also put in some wheat germ.
If you have any other ideas for breakfast food- please e-mail them to us!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Healthy Fun Snack for Toddlers

I am always trying to figure out how to have a fast healthy snack on the go. My friend introduced me to these great snack by Brother-al-Natural. They are apple and pear freeze dried fruit crisps! They are awesome! Since they are freeze dried they are not chewy, but crispy and light. They also dissolve fast in mouths, so they are great for toddlers!

You can buy them online and get free shipping! I love free shipping!

Buy your freeze dried apple crisps at their website!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just when you think you have a rountine...

Just when you think your little one is on a nice "schedule" something comes up! Isn't that the truth?! Me & a few friends of mine were saying that just when you get used to your little one sleeping through the night or taking great naps-- poof! They began to wake up crying or they start fighting that second nap. Why? Why you ask does this happen??? The only answer we can come up with is... they are babies/ toddlers and that is what they do!
Whether it is teeth, a tummy ache or a scary dream it is a reminder that we as parents have two choices: 1) we can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it out or 2) we can go with the flow and accept that it is just one of the many phases associated with having a child.
(Of course, if there is an illness or symptoms of something wrong, that should be taken seriously)

The older my child gets, the more relaxed I seem to become about all those "milestones" and what they "should" or "shouldn't" be doing. Each child is unique and we should celebrate that!
Trust me, it is a lot less stress just going with the flow then trying to fight it ;)

For those of you who agree, disagree or have a funny story, please post a comment. We love hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Taking your toddler out

One of the hardest things to do with a toddler is take him or her to a place that is not childproof. One place that comes to mind for me is church. Not all places of worship come with a trained staff of childcare professionals so what are we to do?

With the input of some of my other mom friends, this is my compilation of a "Toddler - Mommy Sanity Kit"
  • Cute Bag for toys - Such as this adorable backpack
  • Sippy or straw cup with water (safe for spills!) - The Munckin straw cups work for us
  • No spill cup for snacks- or ziplock bag fill with cereal. Use Cheerios or try Captain crunch to mix it up :)
  • Soft books
  • Soft toys to play with that won't BANG when they fall or are thrown - Check out these cute ones
  • If your child is old enough- here is a GREAT toy that uses water to color- no mess! I think I will buy a few of those...soon!
If you have any other ideas please share!

Chicago Photographer- Franco Lanzi

We want to feature one of the best photographers in the city, Franco Lanzi.
Those of us who have a little one know how hard it is to capture the perfect picture! They are crying or squirming or trying to run away... so, how do you get your little one in print?
That is why we LOVE Franco. He manages to capture great pictures of your angel, even when it seems the whole photo session was a meltdown!
Definitely check out Frano Lanzi! Also, he has done most of Little Hipster's lifestyle photos, so you can also check out his work there as well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby Registry 101: Lesson #12 - The Diaper Bag

Ahhh... the diaper bag. You know you need one, but how do you decide which one will be THE ONE?! There are SOOO many on the market today, it is hard to choose.
I know some of you look for one that is basic, some of you go for the extravagant but not practical one. I had a friend tell me that she didn't put much thought into the diaper bag and ended up regretting her choice. Why? First, she said the busy pattern got really old to look at. Second, she spent $100 on it but it within the first 3 months it riped. Then she had to buy another one. She calculated if she combined the two cost, she should have invested in a quality bag up front! This is not to say, you MUST spend a lot. But, you have to choose wisely.

Here are a few things to keep in mind and also some of our favs.

  1. Practical- Things to consider: Pockets for creams, cell phone, change, binkys and bottles. Can you wipe it down or wash it easily?
  2. Stylish- This is HUGE! Yes, it needs to be functional but it also can look good too! First, of all think of this as your new handbag. You will be carrying it for at least two years, it is worth a little splurging.
  3. Quality- As stated earlier, this is a bag you will have for the next 2, maybe 3 years. And if you have another baby, even longer. So choose one that will hold up and last over time.
Our favorite is... the Nest whipstitch diaper bag
As seen on Heidi Klum and other celebs, these bag are great!
Why? The inside lining completely can be removed and can be machined washed. Comes in two colors.

Also, for those men who are bag-phobic, these man bags are perfect for a daddy outing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Sale at Little Hipster

Little Hipster has reduced pricing on summer items from Kingsley, Puma, Zutano and more! Also receive free ground shipping on orders over $75!
Get them while supplies last!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ohhh baby!

This is a special post for one of our loyal readers/ supporters, Sandy. Sandy and husband, Scott welcomed their first born son... 8 weeks early! Landon was 3 lbs, 9 oz but is absolutely PERFECT! Baby and parents are doing well. Congrats to the new proud parents!

Also, anyone else out there was have gone through a scary ordeal, please post comments or advice for other parents who have or may experience the same thing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kingsley Sale!

Little Hipster is having a sale on all Kingsley items! Get them while they last!
The Pirate & Def Leopard Hoodies are Must-Have items for the fall!
Check out all the celebrity babies sporting Kingsley!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baby Registry 101: Lesson #11 The crib mirror

Some people LOVE the mobile as a visually stimulating "toy" for baby in the crib (and it definitely can be!) Another item I found was the crib mirror. It can be hours of fun for baby! My son seriously was staring at himself the first week we brought him home from the hospital. There are some great mirrors out there. Look for one that has some attached toys on it.

Our favorite: Sassy Crib Mirrors.
They have several colors and shades (yes, you can coordinate this with your bedding as well) and it will be a fun toy for baby to play and learn with.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Introducing utensils

Once your baby starts eating solid and finger foods, I think they get a kick out of using their little hands to eat... and then it gets old! Recently my 14 month old has decided he does not like to sit in his highchair for long periods of time (i.e: the time it would take to eat a full meal). So, what is a mom to do?!
Well, it dawned on me that since the little one LOVES to eat whatever we are eating we could make a fun new game out of it. He now enjoys eating off my fork... hmm. So, I started giving him one to try himself. Guess what? He now sits in his highchair longer now and eats with his little fork. I help him at times of course. I show him how to "stab" the food and put it into his mouth. He seems so impressed with himself when he makes contact and gets the food into his mouth!
Give it a try and see how your little ones does!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Toddler Essential - The Hoodie!

Okay, I live in an area that has variable weather and sometimes very cold weather... So, it seems that 9 months out of the year I need an extra layer of clothing at some point during the day. Until recently, I didn't realize how key a functional extra layer was for my toddler! It was this past spring and summer that I found out how important a cute hoodie or and zip up was for my daughter. I LOVE them! They are easy to put on and just add the extra warmth when heading outside. You must think I am crazy to be posting this in mid-July, but realize that the nights get chilly! When planning any vacation, you cannot always count on the weather. I love the zip sweatshirt, because kids can wear it for months! My daughter is almost 16 months old and still fits in the 12 month sweatshirt she started wearing when she was 9 months! She wore this for a span of 7 months! At Little Hipster there are some great sweaters and hoodies. You should check them out. I think of them as a top, but also as a spring/summer/ fall jacket. It is definitely a must have piece all toddlers should have in their wardrobes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gestational Diabetes

I was about 28 weeks pregnant when I had the glucose test. I was horrified to find out that I had Gestational Diabetes! When they told me that I would have to prick my finger 4 times a day to see if my diabetes could be controlled by diet alone I thought I would pass out. I hated needles, I hated getting blood drawn and I couldn't even fathom putting a needle in my finger! I asked what the alternative was and there really was none. After feeling as if I was given a death sentence I pouted and mopped and felt sorry for myself. Later on in the evening I researched Gestational Diabetes and the terrible effects on the children if it was uncontrolled. I felt a cold chill run down my spine as I realized how selfish I had been. I realized that this was not the worst thing in the world for me and I had control. Luckily I was able to control my sugar with diet alone and was lucky not to have insulin shots.

There is so much information on controlling Gestational Diabetes online and typically your doctor refers you to a dietitian to place you on a special diet. It was a great way for me to not go crazy with the ice cream (I wasn't allowed ANY) and it help me gain only 28lbs with my pregnancy. After being placed on that diet, it dawned on me how unhealthy I really was eating. I realized that having a HUGE glass of milk and Carnation Good Start for breakfast was not ideal and 4 bowls of fruit loops is not a balanced dinner ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Breast-Feeding Support at Hospitals

I read a recent study about hospitals lack of breast feeding support. I found this surprising because when I had my daughter I was given a lot of encouragement from the hospital to breastfeed. They offered classes and lactation consultants. Although, on the same token it seemed that after the delivery the staff were quick to give the bottle. The both of us had fevers and they had to take my daughter to the NICU to give her medicine to break her fever. She was back within the hour, but I was informed that they had decided to give her formula. Who was I to question this? After more research I felt that they really did not need to do this.

For more about breastfeeding please visit the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Baby Registry 101: Lesson #10- The Mobile

Mobiles are tricky. Many people register for the mobile that matches their bedding. I agree that it does make the room look elegant and perfect, however let's not loose site of what the mobile is intended to do. The mobile is not just decoration, it is one of the first visual stimulating toys a baby will have. Both the brightly colored ones and ones with black and white contrast are proven to been seen more easily by baby. As much as bright primary colors may clash with your decor, remember the mobile is also a learning tool. It will only be in the crib until your baby can sit up and grab it. For us it was in the crib until she was 4 months old.

The Winner: Tiny Love Symphony-in-Motion Mobile.
Why We love it: Bright colors, designs and fun animals. 15 minutes of classical music. Circular motion, but is on an angle so that the animals move towards and away from baby and around.
The Cost: Between $40 and $50 depending on which model

Friday, August 1, 2008

Double Strollers

The need for a double stroller occurs when you decide to have a second baby close in age.

Here is a quick list of our favorites:

The perfect stroller that will transition from 1 baby to 2, back to 1! We think this is great- especially if you want 2 children close in age, but it can be used for 1 child!
Phil and Teds

The great umbrella stroller - Perfect for traveling and twins. The con is that this stroller does not accept infant carseats. As much as that is a downfall it is also a pro- can you imagine all the germs on the bottom of those seats and having it so close to your toddler may not be a great idea!
Maclaren Double Stroller

For those women who run, BOB has a great double jogger. The children sit side by side.
The Bob Double jogging stroller

There are also other double strollers out there. We chose these three, based on size, weight and functionality. We feel that if you have a less cumbersome stroller you are more likely to get out and actually use it! The best idea is to get a stroller that fits your needs and try it out at the store. If it's hard to maneuver there then it will be even harder to maneuver in the grass or in stores!