Monthly Archives: September 2010
Treat yourself to some peace and relaxation during the national spa week which is September 13- 19 for the West Coast and October 11-17 for the East Coast. Lots of spas are offering discounted services from facials to massages and more!
We know how hard it is to find the time to get away for some peace. If that isn’t an option, you can create your own spa experience at home once the kids are in bed.
Light some candles, turn on some relaxing music, make sure your significant other knows not to disturb you and try this relax at home facial scrub from the Great Jones Spa in NYC!
What you need:
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. almond oil
- A few drops of lemon juice
- Combine all the ingredients
- Gently massage into face using a circular motion for one minute
- Rinse with warm water
If you plan on participating in spa week, you can find the deals on the spa week website.
You work hard as a parent, you deserve peace and relaxation!
As we continue to celebrate Grandparents in a special way this week, we wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at one of our very young at heart Kolcraft Grandparents–Russ Butson who is our Senior Product Safety Manager.
Russ, you have been at Kolcraft for 4 years but you have been working in the world of “safety” for quite some time. What made you choose this rather intense line of work?
My temperament is one that makes me look for a “mission” in life. I’ve worked in areas from jet engines to implantable medical devices to high-end bikes. But I’m proud that my wife calls me a baby whisperer. I found that sense of mission working in product safety for babies. They have no idea what to do and not to do with a product. Everything they can reach is fair game to be grabbed, mouthed, batted, sat on, crawled through, you name it. So everything has to be thought through ahead of time FOR them in order to protect them. It’s very much a sense of service to others that I’ve never found in other professional areas
Can you explain a little the world of safety regulations?
- Many of the voluntary product performance standards in the US are created through the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). The committees that create and update these standards consist of people in similar positions as mine throughout our industry, safety advocates, representatives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and often other countries’ equivalents, laboratories that test products, other interested organizations and even individual consumers. I appreciate that my position allows me to work with people from differing perspectives to focus on creating performance standards which help keep babies safe.
- There are also safety requirements set by the federal government and now even some states. We often consider product safety standards from other countries as they sometimes have a different approach to a similar issue we’re working on.
- On top of all of these, we also have internal Kolcraft product requirements for critical safety areas that exceed both voluntary and mandatory safety standards. This is to ensure there is no question that our products can pass existing standards with significant margin, to address areas that other standards don’t and to keep babies safe even if the product is possibly being misused or abused.
- Finally we have our own internal safety and usability reviews throughout the development process which include the use of safety principles and measurement tools developed for infants and children. These involve a lot of “what if’s” as we consider how a child, a sibling or an adult user might use a product.
What is a typical day like for you?
Like many people I have my share of administrative tasks. But even these tasks help build safe products by capturing test data showing the materials we use are safe, meet state and federal requirements and assure our instruction manuals are accurate and as helpful as they can be. I also prepare products or materials to be sent to labs for testing, including preparing the test request and discussing any questions with the lab ahead of time.
Often there is work to be done on proposed product safety standards which may require testing in our lab and discussing design options with the development engineers. I work with the engineers and design teams to determine if a particular design feature would pass a particular safety standard. This is what interests me most, considering the shapes, gaps, softness or hardness, or other characteristics of a design and determine how a child may grab it, bite it, climb on it, bump into it, fall asleep in it, climb on it or any of a number of ways a child may interact with it. And sometimes it can be easier to figure out what a child would do with a product than what a caregiver may do with it.
You are a parent & recently a grandparent. How has being a dad/grandpa affected how you approach working in safety for a baby gear manufacturer?
I will confess, when our first child was born the first few nights I would put all his stuffed toys around the inside of the crib as if they were standing guard. My wife, then a newborn intensive care nurse, quickly set me straight that NOTHING goes in a crib with an infant other than what he must wear. And everyone’s first newborn is a HUGE learning experience. As an engineer, I began observing that this little person lived in a COMPLETELY different world than I did. When he started crawling, I would get down at his level on the floor to see what he saw and to find out what he could reach. It’s a whole other world down there and I’d recommend this exercise to every parent of a newborn. I found it fascinating to imagine living as he did, not knowing “why” about anything, and unable to communicate in a meaningful way. I loved those early years with both my kids and that’s where I really found an affection for babies in general.
Now, being a new grandfather, I want not only to be sure the products my grandson uses are safe, but are used safely too
Now that you are enjoying being a grandparent, what has been the biggest joy of your new role?
I can’t keep it to one thing! It’s the joy of seeing my child now with a child of his own and happily taking on that responsibility. It’s holding my grandson Lucas and getting cuddled up with him with his fuzzy little head next to my cheek and smelling that baby smell. ALL the tension in my body melts away. As we live 6 hours away, it’s getting new photos of him and showing them to everyone I can. It’s planning the things I want to do with him and places I want to take him to as he grows. I can’t wait to find out what it is that he’s going to be good at and where his interests will lie.
Russ at a glance
If you had a free day without commitments or obligations, how would you spend it? Studying the aircraft at the Oshkosh airshow, the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, and in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (one of the reason I became an engineer) because of the art inherent in all those aircraft. I love them because of the functional artistry in each one.
What’s one thing that is always in your fridge? Ice cream. A friend once looked in our freezer and announced to everyone that we had the ice cream equivalent of a wet bar.
What is your favorite Kolcraft product? Jeep Strollers in general. I love the look the Jeep brand brings to the line, as well as the play between tender babies and tough Jeep! It’s saying, “I’m a baby, and I’m ready to travel. Anywhere!”
And since he now has “grandson on the brain” 24/7, a little fun mind game with Russ. We asked Russ what is the first word that comes to mind when we say:
Baby – Cuddling
Sleep – Finally!
Morning – Hungry. Hungry! HUNGRY!!! (It’s still only one word.)
Broccoli – Creamed?!?!?
Beverage – MOM!!!
Diapers – Realmenchangediaperseventhenastyones
Thank you Russ for giving us a little glimpse into the world of Kolcraft safety!
We all want to be healthy and fit. What better way to do it then by having fun with your kids? To help get the ball rolling on fitness for your family, Kolcraft, Jeep and the National Wildlife Federation are inviting you to a very special Hike & Seek!
This family-friendly activity is a cross between a nature hike and a scavenger hunt, bringing children and adults together in the great outdoors for some fresh fall air and fun. This date with Mother Nature combines a one mile hike with “Stop and Study” interactive nature stations along the way, providing an entertaining learning experience. The stations, manned by NWF naturalists and wildlife experts, provide activities to stimulate all the senses using Mother Nature’s world as inspiration. Every participant is given a map and Mission Guidebook to direct their path and will receive a junior naturalist badge at the end of the hike. Once Hike and Seekers return to base camp they will be greeted by exhibits, prizes, more activities and maybe even some friendly wildlife! Rumor has it that NWF’s Ranger Rick will make a live appearance. (Editor’s note – I will definitely be getting my picture taken with my idol Ranger Rick!)
Participants will be given staggered start times beginning at 9am. On-site registration starts at 8am. Once you are on the trail you can go as fast or slow as you like. Don’t hurry, take time to enjoy and connect with the nature around you. Generally, the adventure takes approximately two hours to complete. All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Hike & Seek is part of NWF’s Be Out There campaign to get kids outdoors where they can connect with nature, run and play, and just be kids. While contemporary parents spent their free time as kids exploring and playing in nature, their children spend far more time indoors plugged into electronic media. The result is that American kids are prone to higher incidences of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and ADHD because they’re missing something essential to their health and development–unstructured time playing outdoors.
Hike & Seek will take place in the following cities:
- Chicago on October 2, 2010
- Seattle on October 16, 2010
- Washington DC on October 2, 2010
To kick off Hike & Seek, we will be hosting a Twitter Party on September 30, 2010 from 11-12 CST. During this time, everyone will have the opportunity to tweet with experts from NWF and win all sorts of Jeep products that will help you and your family get outdoors. Products will include baby strollers (even Jeep Joggers!), baby carriers, pet carriers, pet toys, subscriptions to Ranger Rick magazine and more! You can follow the event on Twitter using #HikeandSeek tag. More info coming next week!
Can’t wait to Hike & Seek with you!
The school year is already underway, but it’s never too late to go over a few important safety tips with your children.
- Phone Number - Make sure your child knows your phone number. If they can’t remember it, write it down, tuck it into their backpack and let them know where it is.
- Set Rules - Set safety rules for pick up. Let your child know that only “safe people” will pick them up and have no more than 3 “safe people.” Let you child know who those people are. If different people pick your child up on different days, remind them before they leave the car who is picking them up. Tell them that under no circumstances should they get in a car with a stranger. If a stranger approaches they should run to a teacher, other parent they know, or crossing guard.
- Walking – If your child walks to school, make sure you walk the route with them at least once. Tell them to stay away from vacant lots, abandoned buildings, etc. It’s best to have a buddy system where your child walks home with friends or siblings.
- School Bus Rules – Make sure your child knows proper safety when exiting a school bus; wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before entering or exiting, look both ways before crossing the street to catch the bus or after leaving it, never run in front of the bus or cross the street directly in front of the bus. It’s hard for the bus driver to see little people when they are that close to the bus.
- Labels- Do not put your child’s full name on backpacks, lunch boxes or anything that can be seen when carried. Use initials instead.
What back to school safety rules do you have?
Since we celebrate Grandparent’s Day during September, we are dedicating Mom Monday to a go-getting Grandma better known as Simply Cathi. I had the privilege of meeting Cathi at BlogHer New York. Despite losing a child and experiencing a terrorist attack first hand, Cathi is full of smiles and joy. I had to share her story with our Kolcraft fans!
Cathi, you live in the beautiful land of Southern California (We may be heading your way when Chicago winters get too fierce!) and you love gardening, grandchildren and Goofy. What inspired you to share your loves and life adventure through a blog?
I originally started my blog as a journal and to keep in touch with family and friends. I lost my 17-year old daughter Britt to an automobile accident several years ago and found that recording my feelings in a journal brought comfort and understanding. As time went by and I adjusted to life without Britt, I stopped writing. In 2006 my husband was injured in a terrorist bombing while we were visiting Spain. My life was once again thrown into a tailspin. As we proceeded to overcome medical and employment obstacles (he was injured while on duty with a major airline) I found blogging to be very therapeutic while also keeping in touch with friends and family. The blog has grown over the years to include many other things, but the center is still our everyday life and of course our grandchildren.
How would you say parenting your grandchildren is different than parenting your children?
Grandchildren are an absolute joy! I am however much more protective and cautious with my grandchildren then I was with my kids. Partly because I have to answer to their parents! Bottom line…It’s Grandma’s house and quite often anything goes!
What life lessons have your grandchildren taught you?
My grandchildren have taught me to slow down and enjoy the simple things. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life but with my grandchildren I want to enjoy the simple things every single day. I also don’t want to miss spending every minute with them when we’re together. It won’t be long before they’re all grown up.
What is your favorite part of being a Grandma and what is the most challenging?
My favorite part about being a Grandma is the unconditional love. It’s goes both ways! I know they love me and they know I am over the top in love with them. There is nothing in this world that compares to hearing little voices calling out “Grandma!” as they run and jump into my arms!
As for challenges…when we were tending our grandchildren everyday while their parents both worked, it was a challenge to do the parenting while keeping the “Grandma’s house” atmosphere. It was hard to set aside time for homework when all we wanted to do was go outside and play.
What advice do you have for parents and grandparents who want their children to be more involved with the grandparents?
The love and companionship between grandparents and grandchildren is magical. I can’t exactly say what the magic ingredient is but it is there. Perhaps it’s the unconditional love. Grandparents can share wisdom that only comes from a lifetime of experiences with their grandchildren and in turn…grandchildren help us stay young.
Now for a quick glance into Cathi’s life.
What’s the one thing that never gets checked off your “to do” list? Floors! It seems there’s always a room that needs to be vacuumed or mopped.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it? A free day would definitely be spent at Disneyland with Grandpa and the grands!
What is your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is the sinfully delicious lemon cookies my husband brings home from his flights to London. (Editor’s note – YUM!)
What’s your favorite “no-fuss” meal that you fall back on when things are really hectic? My “go to” meal has always been spaghetti. I always have ground sirloin, canned tomatoes and pasta on hand. I add a salad, and garlic bread and the whole family (Just us or the kids and grands too) is happy.
If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be? Simply Cathi
If you have any questions or comments for Cathi, please leave them in the comment section or head over to her blog.
Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap. -Doug Larson
This Sunday we celebrate Grandparents day. Grandparents are those wonderful people who help children learn and love in a very special way. If your child is lucky enough to have a grandparent, here are some ideas of how you can celebrate Grandparent’s Day!
- Have your child make a card for her grandparent and bring it over. If a card is too difficult for your little one to make, you can have her draw or color a picture.
- Bake a little treat with your child for his grandparents, bring it over to them and enjoy it together.
- Bring grandparents some flowers and a smile.
- Give grandparents a picture of their grandchild in a special frame. You can even make a frame out of foam (bought at your local craft store) that you & your child decorate.
- Call grandparents and sing them “Happy Grandparents Day” to the tune of Happy Birthday.
How will you be spending Grandparents Day?
Yesterday I met with a vendor who was telling me he would be out of the office today celebrating Rosh Hashanah. He explained that he appreciated how Rosh Hashanah is a new start, a time to start with a “clean slate.” He really got me thinking how much we need new starts and “clean slates” on a daily basis especially as parents.
No matter how organized we are, each day brings some challenge whether that is not getting errands done, dinner not turning out like we want it to, losing patience when we are being asked for the 100th time “why” by a toddler, struggling to get homework done and rush the kids to (name your sport) practice…the list goes on. Sometimes as parents we are extra hard on ourselves for what we don’t get done and overlook all that we do like the fact that the kids did get to school in clean clothes, like the fact that we were able to spend some cuddle time with our children, that we were able to squeeze in one more bedtime kiss…the list goes on.
So today may be a good opportunity to take a parenting “time out” and realize all the good things we do as parents, to forgive ourselves for not living up to our “perfect parent” standards and to start over with a clean slate.
Pregnancy brings with it joy, uncertainty and questions – lots of them. There are many places you can turn for answers; your doctor*, friends, family and other moms in mommy groups or online communities. One online community, Wiser Pregnancy, boasts a combination of research and current medical thinking on over 600 prenatal situations. The community is comprised of peers and expectant doctors.
You can custom tailor your search and share info anonymously. The database is continuously updated so you can find new information every time you visit.
What pregnancy sites have you found helpful?
*Always be sure to check with your doctor before making any major changes to your health routine during pregnancy.
The cooler weather has arrived and unfortunately it also brings with it the flu and other not-so-fun colds and illnesses. One easy tip that can help keep some germs away from your baby is to pack a placemat in your travel bag for when you eat out. If your child isn’t eating off a plate yet, a placemat provides a clean surface instead of your child eating off a restaurant table. While it can’t keep all germs away from your baby, it can at least give your baby a clean eating surface which can go a long way especially during flu and cold season.
What tips do you have for protecting your children from the flu and colds?