Monthly Archives: November 2010
It’s that time of year where we seem to be meeting ourselves coming and going. Holiday time is fun and magical, but it can also be very stressful. A few easy tips (or reminders) on keeping the holidays as stress-free as possible.
- Be realistic – No parent can do it all. We think that somehow we have to do every activity with our children while attending office parties, cooking every possible holiday dessert from scratch, wrapping presents and decking the halls with perfect boughs of holly. It’s ok not to do everything and honestly – most people won’t notice if you don’t do everything perfectly from scratch. If you are completely stressed, you won’t be able to be present to your children. Concentrate on a few things that are important to you and your family and let the rest go.
- Put on your kiddie googles – That’s right, see the holidays through your child’s eyes. You may want to hop from house to house and fit in as much as possible during the holidays, but that may be confusing to your children if you are changing homes late at night to go to the next party. It may be as simple as explaining to them why you are doing the activities you are doing or you may want to do something special as you travel from event to event such as let them pick out the holiday song you will sing, or perhpas cut down on how many events/parties you attend, etc.
- Explain, explain, explain – The holidays mean something different to every family. Be sure to explain to your children why your family celebrates the holidays. If the holidays are part of your religious tradition, explain the religious meaning to your children. If your holidays are about gathering to share love with family and friends, explain that to your children. Don’t rely on others to explain the meaning of the holidays to them.
Most of all have fun. The holidays don’t have to be perfect – they only need to be what you and your family want them to be.
What holiday stress-free tips do you have?
PS – Don’t forget our contest to win a humidifier from Crane Humidifiers! http://bit.ly/hLfHGM
During our Mom Mondays we love to introduce you to moms who inspire us. We also like to introduce you to people who make the job of parenting a little easier and we are happy to give you a very timely interview. While at the ABC show we were lucky enough to meet up with Katie from Crane Humidifiers. This lady knows her stuff! She showed us their amazing humidifiers that pediatricians recommend. You will love the benefits of these humidifiers which come in kid-friendly designs! I had the opportunity to try one out and give it 5 stars because there was a marked difference in allergy and cold relief!
Why is having a humidifier so important for your child?
Adding moisture to a room moistens nasal passages, soothes dry coughs, and helps with nose bleeds, chapped lips and dry skin. Great for helping relieve cold and flu symptoms too so you and your child can sleep peacefully at night!
Are there different kinds of humidifiers?
Yes, generally three types:
- Cool mist
- Warm mist
All three designs put moisture into the air. Pediatricians recommend cool mist over warm mist, because warm mist boils the water and produces a steam. Doctors are concerned about possible burning from the steam.
What are some of the success stories you have heard from parents who started to use humidifiers?
I have heard that our whimsical designs put a smile on a child’s face. When you child is sick and miserable anything that will make them smile is a relief to a parent.
Do you have a favorite design of your humidifiers?
I love the cow. I think is adorable. I also like the sleek look of the new drop shapes designs.
Now for a quick glance into Katie’s life.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go & what would you do there? India. Friends that have visited say it is very colorful. I love Indian curries. India seems exotic to me.
What’s something always found in your fridge? Salsa
What is an instant de-stressor for you? Going to the movies.
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be? Give Me a Letter and I Will Tell a Story
We love Crane Humidifiers so much that we are giving one away! All you have to do is check out the Crane Humidifier website and leave a comment on our blog about which humidifier you like the best and why. Contest ends Thursday, December 2nd, 2009 at midnight CST.
It’s the day before families gather nationwide to pause and be grateful. In the midst of our crazy, hectic schedules it’s easy to forget all the blessings we have. One idea to remember your blessings from year to year is to start a Family Gratitude Book. At Thanksgiving each member of the family writes in the book what she or he is grateful for. Make sure you write the date at the top of the list. Year after year, you will be adding memories that you can look back on and remember. It is especially rewarding to remember what kids wrote when they were little (especially if now they are grown up with their own children) or what family members who have passed on have written. Your Family Gratitude Book becomes an heirloom for many generations.
Supplies for Family Gratitude Book:
- Notebook or Journal
- Grateful Heart
Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table
If you would like little place holders or an easy-to-do craft for your kids, how about a Turkey made from a toilet paper tube?
Supplies for the Turkey toilet paper tube craft:
- Construction paper
- Markers, crayons or non-toxic paint
- Toilet paper tube
- Scissors (to be used by adults)
- Non-toxic glue
- Wiggly eyes (not to be used by children under 3 years of age)
- Cut feathers out of the construction paper
- Cut feet & beak from construction paper
- Glue feathers, feet, beak and wiggly eyes to the toilet paper tube. Toilet paper tube should be “standing” up vertically.
- Color Turkey as desired.
What fun Thanksgiving ideas do you have?
Everyone gathers around the Thanksgiving table ready to eat a feast and your toddler couldn’t be less interested in all this rich “adult” food. Or even worse – the succulent dishes are filled with nuts, shellfish or other things your child can’t have. An easy solution that everyone will love is to create your own Kiddie Thanksgiving Buffet. (Make sure you set aside small servings before nuts and other ingredients your child might not eat are added to the dish.)
Set aside in smaller dishes some of the softer kid friendly food such as potatoes, dinner rolls, stuffing and vegetables. Your child will feel like she has her own special Thanksgiving feast Kiddie style! We love Dippy Cups for kid-friendly meals especially during the holidays.
What tips do you have for making your Thanksgiving more Toddler friendly?
This week we have the pleasure of interviewing a truly international mom. Buckle up and hold on to your hats for this interview because this mama is on the move!
Shilah, during your pregnancy you were living overseas. Can you tell us what that journey was like being pregnant without familiar health care and having your family around?
We had moved to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, about a week before we learned we were pregnant. The saving grace was that we had just moved into our new apartment, one day earlier and we were staying in a crummy hotel that really would not have fit the celebratory mood. We hadn’t planned for our daughter, Naxxar, and were more than a little overwhelmed, but also very excited. Since we owned our own company that published books on different countries, and Trinidad and Tobago was our 15th project, I had travel insurance—but no health insurance for the US, as we hadn’t been living there in nearly seven years. It had never occurred to me to double check, but sadly my travel insurance did not cover pregnancy. I also quickly learned that I could not get coverage in the US, as the pregnancy was a pre-existing “condition.” Luckily, my husband really took the reins and lined up a doctor for me.
Our doctor was lovely, he spoke like Bob Marley, and answered all of our crazy questions. We very heavily considered having Naxxar in Trinidad and Tobago, but there was a sort of loop hole that made us nervous—I would have had her in a private hospital under private care there (they have both private and public healthcare), but if there had been any problems with Naxxar after birth, they would have moved her out of the private hospital and into the public hospital…possibly, away from me. In truth, this wouldn’t have happened, as Naxxar was born completely healthy, but as new parents, we weren’t completely comfortable with that. Then the Christmas before Naxxar was born, we visited two hospitals in the Chicago suburbs—neither of whom could give us a straight answer on the cost (starting at $2,000…but no idea of where the additional costs would end). In truth, after speaking with the hospitals, I felt less than comfortable about giving birth in the U.S. So, we did the first five months of our prenatal care in Trinidad and Tobago. Luckily, my husband is English, so we were able to move to Northern Wales three months before I gave birth. We easily transitioned into the British healthcare system, which takes a very natural approach to the birthing process, has a lower infant mortality rate, and was completely free. Truly, it was a wonderful experience. I was very lucky to have landed in such safe hands, and found it a relaxing and rewarding experience—as much as labor pains can be! I was permitted to stay in the hospital for as long as I wanted, until I felt comfortable leaving, and felt well looked after and cared for. Also, the pediatrician came out to the house for the first six weeks after her birth for all checkups, making life much easier for me.
I hated being apart from my mother, but luckily, I was able to call her when I started contractions, and my parents then jumped on the first plane over, and not only made the birth, but stayed another three weeks to help my husband and I transition into being new parents. Without their help, I would never have been able to handle it! Thankfully with international calling plans and the internet, it is a lot easier to be away from home.
When my daughter was three months old, we had to leave England as my visa was expiring (and we were simultaneously waiting for my husband’s green card to the US), so we moved to Paris, France, for three months. Then, my visa to the European Union was coming to an end, and we were still waiting for Daniel’s green card, so we moved back to Istanbul, Turkey, for a month and a half, so that we could stay together until the US green card arrived.
Have your learned other parenting traditions/skills from living abroad?
- One parenting trick that I learned from a dear friend in Istanbul was using your legs as a rocker to lull the baby to sleep. You stretch your legs out straight while you are sitting up, lay the baby in between your legs, while they are still touching, and gently rock side to side.
- Our pediatrician in Paris told me I had to take Naxxar out on a walk every single day in the winter, nicely bundled up, but not into the stores, public transportation, or where crowds gathered—so that she wouldn’t get sick. This is probably just good common sense.
- And, the importance of having your immunizations records intact and organized. Each country required different shots at different times with different names.
Do you have a favorite “mom moment” that you can share with us?
My favorite moment as a mom is a fairly recent development, Naxxar now seems to be able to demonstrate love, and will stop everything she is doing just to cuddle me. It is the purest love I’ve ever experienced and gives me chill bumps just thinking of it.
Any advice for first-time parents especially those who may be raising a child away from a family support?
Stay in touch with your family, include them by using Skype, or sending photos as often as possible. If you can’t get a hold of your family, turn to your friends and trust your instincts. Lean on your partner as much as you can, and never be afraid to ask for help.
Now for a quick glance into Shilah’s life.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go & what would you do there? I have so many places that I wish I could visit. Next stop on my list is up to Northern Canada so that my husband and I can go dog sledding and see the Northern Lights!
What’s your guilty pleasure? The Daily Show with Jon Stewart…I even interrupt Elmo for it sometimes.
What is an instant de-stressor for you? Although it is super bad for me, and makes me think of Snookie, I love a few minutes in the tanning bed. I try to run down a couple of nights per week after Naxxar is sleeping and my husband is home from work. It’s the only place I can be where I absolutely have to relax, enjoy my alone time, and clear my thoughts.
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be? Je Ne Regrette Rien (I have no regrets)
While it may seem like we just finished Trick or Treating with our children, Thanksgiving really is next week! We wanted to share with you some recipes, crafts and activities that you can take to your own Thanksgiving family celebration.
- We love Jamie Oliver’s very tasty and healthy Thanksgiving recipes. We give the roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots 5 stars! Check it out on the Jamie Oliver website.
- Food Network has some great side dish recipes that we love. We highly recommend Alton’s Superstar Mac & Cheese.
- These DIY Turkey muffins are so fun for your kids and healthy too!
- How about a healthy fruit turkey for the table?
- One of our favorites for your leftover turkey that is sure to delight kids and adults alike - Turkey nuggets!
Activities & Crafts:
- Have your kids color their own Thanksgiving placements with these Thanksgiving printable pages! Disney also has some cute printable Thanksgiving pages here.
- How about having some family fun with Thanksgiving BINGO!
- A mosaic cornucopia will add a great splash of color to your Thanksgiving decor and show off your child’s artistic talent!
- These adorable place cards will definitely bring smiles to your Thanksgiving table.
- Need to work up to a dessert appetite after your big meal? Try one of these fun family Thanksgiving games!
No matter if you have 2 or 20 people at your table, your Thanksgiving can be memorable. We especially love the tradition of going around the table and each person saying one thing they are grateful for from the past year. What Thanksgiving traditions do you have to share?
At Kolcraft we believe in working hard so we can give moms and dads the best baby products to meet their ever changing needs. We believe that in addition to working hard, we should play hard in order to keep our creative juices flowing. This past Tuesday Ramon DeLeon from Domino’s Pizza treated us to a Ramon WOW! What’s a Ramon Wow? It’s where Ramon goes out of his way to WOW his customers. He got us set up for a pizza party that was fit for a king.
It was a great lunchtime filled with laughs that refueled us to return to work so you can have more great Kolcraft baby products in 2011. Thanks Domino’s!
Today we are partying with our Kolcraft fans Thanksgiving style!
Since Thanksgiving is around the corner and we know a lot of people are traveling for the upcoming holidays, we are having a Thanksgiveaway Twitter Party! During this party we will be:
- Talking about all we are grateful for
- Sharing crafts & special recipes for kids at the holidays
- Giving away 25 Jeep 2 in 1 Diaper Bag/Booster Seats! The Jeep® Travel Anywhere® Sport 2-in-1 Booster Seat & Everyday Bag is the perfect solution to keeping your little ones happy at the dinner table especially when you are away from home.
The Thanksgiveaway Twitter Party will be TODAY, November 17th from 11am until 12:30 pm CST. Please use hashtag #ThxKolcraft. No RSVP necessary. Just join us!
See you there!
Last week we had a green parenting tip taken from The Eco-nomical Baby Guide book. When we posted it on our Kolcraft Facebook wall, one of our Facebook fans, shared a link to a site called ThredUP where you can exchange baby and children’s clothing.
Children grow out of clothes so quickly and the bills can add up. We loved this idea of a clothing exchange for gently used baby and children’s clothes. Check it out-your wallet and Mother Earth will appreciate it!
Thanks for sharing the site Ashley!