Simple knitting projects are my fave and this cozy popover hoodie for babies is the sweetest! With a snuggly hood this popover is perfect for layering over a shirt or sweater and then you can layer the jacket on top. Imagine how easy it will be to get your babe dressed for going outside—and easy to get them undressed once you get indoors again!
IMAGE: The graphic above is by me, Chris Olson and features the photos by Laura at The Purl Bee.
1) Knotted beanie, J.Crew
2) Cotton pants, J.Crew
3) Striped booties, J.Crew
4) Mini Mirabella doll, BlaBla Kids
5) Oh Joy's Short Sleeve Baby Dress, Winter Water Factory
6) Handmade Moccasins - Gold with Neon Orange Stitching, Freshly Picked
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More ideas for babies and toddlers here:
Handmade goodness. Floral Mary Jane baby booties.
Get your camera ready! Soft and cuddly teddy bear ear hat for newborn.
Plant your baby's favorite books on a green grass bookshelf.
Are you creating a nursery? One sweet way to personalize your child's room is to add handcrafted wall art. I love the artwork by Sarah Jane Studios on Etsy and her adorable Love You More print would make a wonderful addition to a little girl's room.
Sarah Jane is a mother of three small children, and as she says at her Etsy shop:
It always starts with a sweet "I Love You!" and it ends up turning into an "I love you more!"
"Love You More" details:
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The clever people at Boon Inc. have created an adorable book shelf that doubles as a piece of art. Kids and adults will love displaying their favorite books in the Turf, Front-facing Bookshelf. Great for all sizes of books. Books face forward for easy selection. Easy wall-mounting, hardware included. Dimensions: 4.75" x 15.75" x 10.25". BpA-free. Phthalate-free. PVC-Free.
Image above by me, Chris Olson. Photos: Boon, Inc.
Soft and cozy, these adorable handmade Mary Jane baby booties by Pitter Patter Shop on Etsy are perfect for spring.
Find these handmade booties on Pinterest, right here.
Do your kids like to build nests of blankets and pillows on the couch? Mine do. Nests made of blankets indoors or twigs in a tree make me think of a warm happy place. Here are two "nest" companies sure to warm your heart.
PetitNest offers a fresh twist on bedding and furniture for nurseries and bedrooms. The trendy company is the "brainchild of two of Hollywood’s most style-conscious and design-savvy moms: beloved actress Tiffani Thiessen currently starring in the hit USA Network television series 'White Collar' and award-winning designer Lonni Paul, known to millions as the reigning female finalist from HGTV’s 'Design Star.' "
Nest is the "learning" thermostat that keeps track of your heating and cooling preferences and adjusts automatically to your perfect settings through out the day and night.
Looking for decorating ideas for a nursery or a child's bedroom? Susanna Salk's visually exciting book Room for Children: Stylish Spaces for Sleep and Play is a stunning treasure trove of decorating ideas and a fun read. Kelly Wearstler, renowned interior designer and author of several books, writes the foreword.
Is it possible to design a room that pleases both the parents and their children? Salk has found a way. Page after page of lovely photography by some of the industry's top photographers–Pieter Estersohn, Paul Costello, William Abranowicz, Melanie Aveced, and others–makes me want redecorate a few rooms at my house. No matter your style–modern, formal to whimsical–you will find a room that fits your mood. The book showcases a variety of decorating styles for bedrooms, play spaces, and study areas created by a talented group of designers including Kelly Wearstler, Charlotte Moss, Alessandra Branca, Amanda Nisbet, and Thomas Jayne, among many others.
Salk is a leading design maven with many publishing success stories. Here are just a few: author of Weekend Retreats, a contributing editor for Bon Appetit Magazine, 1STDIBS.COM, and iVillage.com, as well as a former special projects editor at House & Garden. In the book she features an assortment of rooms that will appeal to a variety of ages. Her book has a sophisticated take on decor for children according to the LAtimes.com:
The book suggests that just because a room is designed for a kid, that's no reason the design can't be all grown up. There is nothing DIY about "Room for Children," and no sense of trying to do more with less. Two-dozen-plus rooms in the book differ in style, but few could be described as "cute."
Anne at her blog The City Sage says:
In the world of interiors books, the subject of decorating for children has been sorely neglected. Until now! Renowned author and editor Susanna Salk has released Room for Children: Stylish Spaces for Sleep and Play, and I'm rolling on a serious sugar high from all the sweet, sweet eye candy!
Julie at her blog Remodelista calls the book required reading:
Salk rounds up spaces by designers such as Kelly Wearstler (who wrote the book’s foreward), Amanda Nisbet, Amy Lau, Sixx Design, as well as J. Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons’ edgy charcoal-walled nursery.
Note to my readers: I did not receive compensation from the author or publisher for writing this book review
If you live in an area with mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus, using some simple precautions can prevent getting bitten by an infected insect. The good news is not all mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus. To see if West Nile Virus is in your area now, call your local County Health Department or consult the CDC West Nile Virus Activity by State by State map. West Nile Virus cases increase as the weather gets warmer, so if the virus is not present in a state now, the virus may develop later in the summer.
Prevention Is Key
According to MedlinePlus, "There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease. The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites."
Practice the four D's to avoid misquito bites:
The CDC has a list of EPA-registered active ingredients in mosquito repellents here and that list includes:
More information is available from the EPA on insect repellents and the active ingredients found in insect repellent at this link.
Applying an effective insect repellent is key. And not all insect repellents are created equal. The percentage of DEET in an insect repellent determines the duration of effectiveness–in other words the effectiveness of a 30% DEET lasts longer than a 10% DEET. According to HealthyChildren.org:
Insect repellents should be used with caution. Read the label carefully. Consult your doctor or pediatrician if you have questions. Adults should supervise the use of insect repellents on children. When kids come indoors, they should wash the insect repellent off their skin. According to Kidshealth.org:
For more information on the safety of DEET and other repellents with children, check out the Kidshealth.org article, Are Insect Repellents With DEET Safe for Kids?
Prevention Around Your House
Something as simple as maintaining screens in windows and doors will help prevent insects from entering the house. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. If you have a kiddie pool in your yard or flower pots with saucers collecting water, drain them daily. Remember to clean your pet water dishes and refill them with fresh water each day. Drilling a few small holes in the bottom of a tire swing will prevent mosquitoes from finding water in them. For more information, a helpful West Nile Virus video is available at this CDC link.
West Nile Virus Symptoms
According to the CDC 1,021 total West Nile Virus cases in humans were reported in the US in 2010. West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes can transmit a disease that creates a variety of symptoms including stiff neck, high fever, severe headache, memory problems, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, body aches, rash, and nausea. For a detailed list of symptoms read the CDC West Nile Virus Fact Sheet.
Convertible potty seat features:
Photo above features the Kohler toilet seat.
(Sending a shout out to Lou Manfredini on the TODAY Show for alerting me to the Mayfair seat.)
The editors of the Personal Journal Section of the WSJ today have three articles you don't want to miss:
New Rules for Food Allergies: "New guidelines for diagnosing and treating food allergies say that blood or skin tests alone aren't sufficient when making a diagnosis." Plus this WSJ article includes an audio version.
Youth Team Sports Don't Provide Recommended 60 Minutes of Exercise: "The majority of children participating in organized team-sports don't meet the federal recommendation of 60 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise, according to a study released Monday."
The Baby May Be Giving You Mommy Thumb: "Mommy thumb--an inflammation of tendons below the thumb--is affecting more women because of heavier children, older new mothers, and frequent scrolling on smartphones."
(Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography)
In many developing countries, something as simple as a knit or crocheted cap can help the baby keep warm, which is key to helping newborns survive.
Save the Children is looking for volunteer knitters. Directions for knitting the caps at this link. Caps you knit will be sent to Save the Children’s newborn health programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Babies "who derive all their nutrition from breast milk during their first six months of life are less prone to a host of common infections" according to a new study in Greece. The topic of health benefits and breastfeeding has been studied before, but many different factors can change the results depending on the environment, healthcare, etc. This new study includes data on how breastfeeding affects the overall health of children who also have access to high-quality health care. Emmanouil Galanakis from the department of pediatrics at the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece is the lead researcher of the study that was published in the Sept. 28 online edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Scientists are not in agreement on whether or not antibodies can enter the body via breastfeeding. In fact, this new Greek study contradicts a Canadian 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) by Dr. Michael Kramer at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. In the 2009 study, the authors concluded, "no demonstrable beneficial or adverse long-term effects on child health or exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months."
What did the new Greek study determine? According to the Archives of Disease in Childhood, out of the 1,000 babies in the study, only 91 children ended up being exclusively breast-fed for a full six months, and they experienced fewer infections.
Do nutritional and immunological benefits rooted in the antibodies found in mothers' milk make a difference in a babies health? Yes, according to the Greek research, but only if the baby is exclusively fed breastmilk. The study found partial breast-feeding did not offer the same kind of protection.
Details on the Greek study according to the US Department of Health and Human Services:
Study author Fani Ladomenou, of the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greecethe writes in Archives of Disease in Childhood:
"Exclusive breastfeeding helps protect infants against common infections and lessens the frequency and severity of infectious episodes not only in developing countries but also in communities with adequate vaccination coverage and healthcare standards."
For more information on the health benefits of brestfeeding and the recent study, check out:
For more healthy living posts, check out Momathon's health & wellness.
Special mommy hugs to the wonderful photographer of the photo above: Gabi_Menashe
Similac powders formula in plastic tubs vs. cans
Plastic tubs: All powders in a plastic tub are being recalled according to a Abbot spokesperson speaking on CNN about the recall. This is not the same information given in their initial press release about the recall in which they told consumers to use their Similac powder infant formula lookup to check if the lot number is in the recall list. Evidently, all the plastic tub lot numbers are on the recall list. Unfortunately the Similac recall lookup website has been overloaded by consumer traffic and it loads very slowly.
Similac has also provided a 59-page hPDF with a complete list of recalled Similac formulas. The FDA has a searchable Similac Infant Formula List.
Cans: If you have a Similac powder in a can, use the website to look up to see if that specific can lot number is on the recall list. The specific contaminated products are offered in 8-oz, 12.4 oz., and 12.9 oz cans.
(Liquid Similac formulas are not part of the voluntary recall. )
Was the formula sold in the U.S.?
The Abbott plant involved is in Sturgis, Michigan, and the recall involves up to 5 million Similac-brand powder formulas sold in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and some Caribbean countries.
The specific contaminated products are offered in plastic containers and in 8-oz, 12.4 oz., and 12.9 oz cans.
According to the FDA: "At least 12 of the recalled products were provided to families through the federal government’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) health and nutrition program."
Is the contaminated formula a health danger?
"Possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product. The FDA has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae, could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract."
Health warnings and safety alerts by the FDA for Similac recall:
"If symptoms are noted and persist for more than a few days, a physician should be consulted. Products with affected lot numbers should be returned to Abbott at no cost to the consumer."
How to check if your formula is on the recall list:
How to find Similac lot numbers on cans and plastic tubs according to the FDA.
For more information:
Even though I don't think I frequent fast food places, the evidence of stopping once in a while for fries or a burger is clear: Before my kids could read a picture book, they could "read" the Burger King logo sign.
Sigh. We all know eating healthy meals and snacks is best, but many of us still crave a fresh salad with a gallon of dressing or a sugary fruit smoothie. Nutrition, it turns out, is not always easy to recognize.
Recently Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist who specializes in eating issues and body image concerns, made a list of foods kids should avoid in Huffington Post. According to Albers, a recent study by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) examined fast food favorites for kids that are popular because they are heavily marketed. Turns out the nutritional content on these meals is less than favorable. Surprise. Surprise. Kids love junk. And I'm guessing that anything labeled a "Happy Meal" sounds good to a six-year-old.
According to Albers article, here are the five worst fast food kids meals (using data from PCRM's study):
McDonald's Mighty Kids Meal: Double Cheeseburger, French fries, and chocolate milk. 840 calories, 37 grams of fat
Wendy's Kids Meal: Chicken Sandwich, French fries and chocolate Frosty. 770 calories, 34 grams of fat.
KFC Kids Meal: Popcorn chicken, potato wedges, string cheese and soda. 800 calories, 1,800 milligrams of sodium.
A&W Kids Meal: Cheeseburger, French fries and soda. 780 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat.
Burger King's BK Kids: Breakfast muffin sandwich meal. 95 milligrams of cholesterol (exceeds the Institute of Medicine's limit on sodium intake.)
For more information on healthy eating habits, check out the Momathon health & wellness news.
We've all been there... You're sitting at the park next to the PR Mommy who can't stop bragging about how advanced her kid is. And then she inevitably adds a cutting comment: Don't worry, your child will catch up soon.
Ouch. So what do you do? Sometimes I wish that when the PR Mommy stands up a gooey bird turd clings to the seat of her dry-clean only pants. (So far my fantasy has never come true.)
I admit I also have been tempted to try some baby bootlegging. If you don't think about what you just did it feels harmless, that is, until you get caught.
Mitch on the NBC show Modern Family in the clip below "borrows" another child's block tower in order to make his daughter look better. Everything is fine until this bad karma moment bites back.
I admit it, sometimes I find awkward moments hilarious!
Kids naturally like to dig in the dirt. And they like creepy crawly things like the garden slugs in the photo above. Gardening is a great family activity. Give a kid some ownership of the project and you will be amazed at how much kids love to plant, water, and even weed their own garden. The Community Gardening Assoc. offers great ideas in Ten tips for gardening with kids.
Yep, it's spring. The birds are singing. Buds are opening on the trees. And vibrant colors of spring are popping up in clothing too. I've found the perfect outfit for little girls. The Tralala Scarlette Tutu Skirt by Layla Grace "fuses French vintage design with the color and vibrancy of the American spirit".
All Layla Grayce collections are made in the USA with care and attention to detail using top quality 100% soft combed cotton fabric. Machine washable. Available in sizes 2T, 3T and 4T.
Tralala Scarlette Tutu Skirt is on sale, $34.(Photo: Layla Grayce)
In the rush to get everything done in a day, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with healthy meals and exercise often seems impossible. If you are like me, then getting take-out or fast food is a big temptation when you feel like you have no time to cook dinner. Unfortunately, when eating out becomes the norm, eating healthy is not always an option.
Childhood obesity is a growing trend that threatens about one in three kids in the U.S. Increasing rates of obesity in America means that for the first time in our history, kids may face a shorter lifespan than their parents.
That's why First Lady Michelle Obama is encouraging doctors, nurses, parents, and community leaders to join Let’s Move, a nationwide campaign to change the trend and solve the epidemic of childhood obesity.
The First Lady's nationwide initiative's goal is to raise a healthier generation of kids. Let’s Move aims to give families the support needed to live healthier lives by eating healthy and getting more exercise.
4 key components of Let’s Move
Baby photographers get your cameras ready! This olive green beanie hat with teddy bear ears and ear flaps is hand knit by KnittedByNanny on Etsy. Knit with Australian wool with mohair trim. $25.00
Ever wonder what your baby's cries mean? The iPhone Cry Translator app identifies five distinct cries made by infants
The iPhone Cry Translator app is supposed to identify the type of cry within 10 seconds. Amazing or too good to be true? I think Mom can be just as quick and maybe more reliable, but the app is worth a try.
According to the developers, once you know the type of cry, you have a starting point for understanding how to comfort your child.
Note to readers: I have not tried this device. My kids are older, but I wish I it had been available back then.
Does this app work for deciphering the whines of older kids and even spouses? I'll get back to you later with my take on that topic.
Snug as a bug white knit Elizabeth hat with a rose pink flower is handmade by Malindi, a proud member of the Etsymoms Street Team. The wool hat is hand knitted with a seed stitch rim and stockinette stitch. Rose flower is crocheted. Available in newborn, 0-6 months, 6-24 months and 2T+ sizes. The Elizabeth hat featured in the picture above is size newborn, $22.
The adorable dark heather grey Penelope hat with a heather grey rose is also handmade by Malindi. The wool hat is hand knitted with a seed stitch rim and stockinette stitch. Flower is crocheted. Available in newborn, 0-6 months, 6-24 months and 2T+, teen/adult sizes, $22. The Penelope hat featured in the Etsy photo above is an teen/adult size.
Malindi has hats available in a variety of styles and sizes. If you would like to have the hat made in a different size or color combo just contact Malindi at Etsy.
The studio/shop Collage Collage just opened in Vancouver. This inspiring place is an art destination designed for kids that adults love too. Definitely on my to-do list next time I visit Vancouver. Owner Erin Bonnifero teaches art classes for kids and hosts crafty birthday parties. Based on the photos and descriptions I think the store is geared toward younger kids and elementary age students. Store features cool art supplies that you can try out. Be prepared to get messy. Plenty of gift items for crafty kids including hand made toys, books, music and more.
Ever feel like if you take time to shower, then your preschooler will never get into the right college?
Okay, I'm exaggerating, but you know the feeling. And this mommy guilt is toxic. The truth: the more you accomplish on your to-do list does not guarantee you will be happier.
You know the drill. While you cook dinner/fold laundry/check homework, you still feel guilty about not spending time reading a book with your kids.
Chances are if you feel overwhelmed, then now is the perfect time to step back and figure out what you can do to recharge your batteries. I'm not talking about a once-a-month splurge on a mani-pedi or whatever. I'm suggesting you carve out small chunks of time every day to focus on you. Scary? Maybe. But if you take a few minutes to escape and search for beauty in your life, then you will feel better.
No big commitments like training for a triathlon are required. Grab your tennis shoes and take a walk. Or find that journal you loved years ago and start writing again. Even if you just sit down and meditate for 15 minutes in a quiet room, you will feel better.
Just like my mom told me: If mom is happy, the whole family is happier.
Looking for some motivation? Check out this book: Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too by Susan Callahan, Anne Nolen, Katrin Schuman.