We had a great time getting to know the people at New Parent while at the 2011 ABC Show Expo. We love their site for all of the great content and resources to help mom, dad, and the entire family. One article that caught our attention was the 11 Best things To Do For Your Newborn. We are sharing some of their list here, but make sure to visit their site and get insight into the rest.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With 1 in every 8 women in this country being diagnosed with breast cancer, it is something that has affected many moms, daughters, grandmothers, wives, and friends. On this Mom Monday, we catch up with Debbie, a two year breast cancer survivor and mom to Kolcraft’s Marketing Assistant, Kim.
During your chemotherapy and radiation treatments, you always maintained such a positive attitude. How were you able to stay so positive?
I think that positive thinking is powerful. I knew that negativity wouldn’t be helpful, so I focused on the future. I thought about being able to be there when my daughters get married and having the chance to meet my grandchildren some day. Although I was tired, I stayed busy with reading, completing craft projects, and continuing my PhD studies.
You even held onto a few strands of hair, calling them your “survivors.”
Each person needs to fight their battle in their own way. Some women shave their heads to give themselves a feeling of control over the hair loss. It empowers them. I chose to let it happen naturally and the remaining strands were a symbol of my power and strength. I would survive, just as they did. What’s important is for friends and family to support the choices that the person makes in the fight.
Not only did you have support from your friends and family, but from your students as well.
Yes, one daughter bought me a chemo bear and the other did the Komen Walk right after my diagnosis. One day, I arrived in class to find all of my students dressed in pink. Several of them also participated in the Pink Glove Dance at my university.
In 2010, you walked in a breast cancer survivor’s fashion show for the Pink Ribbon Connection and Nordstrom. What was that experience like?
The timing was perfect since I had just finished my year-long treatment. I really wanted to rock it on the runway so I smiled and strutted my stuff. I was inspired by my fellow survivor models who were several years out from treatment and still doing well. It gave me hope.
And now for a glimpse into Debbie’s life:
What book is currently by your bedside?
Researching Lived Experience by Max van Manen. I am doing qualitative research of lived experiences for my dissertation.
What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. It’s a joyful time of year. Thanksgiving is a close second because I am very thankful for all I have and I really like getting up early and shopping the next day.
If you had a free day with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it?
Exercise with my golden retriever, go shopping, create some handmade cards, have dinner with my husband, and talk to my daughters.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and People magazine.
What is an instant de-stressor for you?
Watching a funny movie or using the wii fit for exercise. I like seeing the mii characters of my family exercising with me – it’s funny to watch them. If I can’t do that, then I use visualization, deep breathing.
The best thing about being a Mom is…
the pride and joy I feel when I see the wonderful young women my daughters have grown to be. Every tiring moment of motherhood in those early days was totally worth it.
Being a Mom now is…
probably easier than it was for my mother. Technology allows me to stay very connected to my daughters through texting, e-mail, and phone chats no matter where I am or what I am doing. My Mom had to wait for me to be home to talk on a land line.
You and your child can create a personalized pencil holder for your child’s workstation or for your desk. This craft creates an elephant pencil holder but use your own ideas to create a variety of animal pencil holders. Some animals also easy to create are a bat, mouse, or a dog. Have fun!
What you’ll need:
- Can about 4″ tall, wash and remove label (we used a recycled pop can and removed the top!)
- Gray construction paper
- Wiggle eyes
- Cut the paper enough to cover the outside of the can.
- Take a second sheet of gray paper and fold it in half. Trace and then cut out an elephant ear shape. This should give you two ears. Glue the ears on opposite sides of the covered can.
- Cut out the trunk. Use a pencil to “curl the trunk” so that it will stand out from the can instead of laying flat. Make a 1/4″ fold at the top and glue the trunk to the can.
- Glue on two wiggle eyes on the can on either side of the trunk.
We are home from Kentucky! The Kolcraft team has been at the annual ABC Show which stands for All Baby and Child. There were thousands of baby product manufacturers there and we had the opportunity to meet with moms, media and buyers from baby product retail stores.
It was an exciting week and we can’t wait to share fun and exciting news with you. We have a lot of great news to share with you for 2012. We will have to be quiet for now, but promise to share all of our new ideas with you soon!
Thursday, September 22nd is Elephant Appreciation Day and to celebrate this symbol of wisdom, we’re sharing this easy to make elephant craft:
What you will need:
- Gray construction paper
- Scissors (for adult use only)
- Non-toxic glue
- Non-toxic black marker
- Googly eyes
How to make elephant craft:
- Cut out a big circle using gray construction paper (we traced a small paper plate to help draw the lines before cutting).
- Cut out a smaller gray circle (we traced a small cup) and glue this onto the larger circle.
- Cut one 1 inch strip of construction paper.
- Fold the strip into an accordion by alternating fold back and forth, and glue onto the smaller circle for the elephant’s trunk.
- Glue two large googly eyes onto the smaller circle.
- Cut the ends of the toothpick off for the tusks and glue onto the small gray circle to complete the face.
- Fold a piece of gray construction paper in half and draw out the ears. Cut them out and glue them onto the elephant’s head.
- Cut out four small rectangles for the elephant’s feet (around 1” x 1”) and glue them onto the bottom of the large circle.
- Using the black marker, draw on the elephant’s toes and outline the ears, head and body.
Once you’ve finished making this craft with your little one, check out these other fun ways to celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day:
- Visit your local zoo too see these majestic creatures up close and personal. If you live in the Indianapolis area, be sure to check out Kalina, the Indianapolis Zoo’s newest baby elephant.
- Watch Disney’s Dumbo or catch an episode of Babar the Elephant.
- Check out the Elefunteria site for more fun crafts and elephant trivia. Did you know that adult elephants sleep standing up??
We recently met up with Jay from Chicago’s Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN). NPN has been connecting families all across Chicago for more than 30 years. Whether you need advice on the best schools in the area or are looking to meet other new parents in your neighborhood, NPN has something to offer all Chicago parents. With over 5400 active members, NPN’s diverse clubs and events bring together families from all across the city.
What made you initially decide to get involved with Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN)?
I’d heard about NPN since I was pregnant from friends with kids. When I had my daughter and went into “new mommy panic” mode, I joined a NPN New Moms Group. It was an immediate lifesaver. Having new friends going through the same new parent challenges was incredible.
What is the most rewarding part of being involved with NPN?
I love connecting new parents and helping them receive information on everything from potty training advice to the best kid-friendly brunch spots in the city. Having a fun, free event to go to almost every week is a fun perk too!
NPN offers so many great opportunities for new moms to mingle and share their experiences with other first-time moms. What advice do you have for new parents?
Ask for help when you need it! There is no shame in needing someone to watch the baby for a while so you can sneak in a nap or just unwind. Being a new parent can be all-consuming- I hope new parents realize there’s no shame in being overwhelmed, intimidated or confused at times.
We love the NPN blog for its great tips on fun activities and yummy local restaurants in various neighborhoods around Chicago. What’s your favorite place to take your family in the city and why?
There is so much to do in the city its hard to pick just one place! But this summer, we’ve loved taking long bike rides to Welles Park. It’s a huge park with a fun water feature at the play lot and a path for riding along the perimeter. On the way home, we always grab lunch at Drew’s Eatery –the perfect, kid-friendly place for an organic hot dog and ice cream cone.
NPN not only offers moms the chance to have group play dates and share parenting tips and advice, but also gives moms the opportunity to relax with their “Mom’s Night Out” events. Do you have any advice for moms out there trying to balance raising a family while still finding time for yourself?
Its definitely easy to be overwhelmed when you’re trying to do it all! For me, I think sneaking in even a ½ hour a day of “me” time is crucial to keeping me sane. I’ve stopped feeling guilty if I let the kids watch a show while I get in a long, hot shower if that’s what I need to re-charge for the rest of the day.
Chicago is such a diverse community with so many great family-friendly activities! What has been the best thing about raising your child in the city?
Thanks to the diversity in Chicago, we have an awesome selection of restaurants with foods from so many other countries. It’s been fun introducing the kids to different foods from all over the world. Now, my daughter names Thai noodles and spicy shrimp sushi rolls as her two favorite foods!
Now for a quick glance into Jay’s life.
What’s your one guilty pleasure?
I’m embarrassed to admit but I watch way too much reality TV!
What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids?
Foster Beach is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. My kids can spend hours playing in the sand and filling up endless buckets of water. An ice cream treat on the way home and it’s a perfect day!
What is the book currently by your bedside?
I just finished reading a great book called the Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty. Unfortunately my kindle just broke so it might be awhile until I start another book!
What is something that is always in your fridge?
My kids have recently become addicted to ProBugs, which are these organic kefir drinks in spill-proof, squeezable pouches.
Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox?
I’d have to go with the Cubs since we’re so close to Wrigleyville.
Sunday, September 11th is Grandparent’s Day. What better to show grandma or grandpa just how much they mean to us than by given them a personalized, homemade gift? Today’s picture frame craft is easy and fun for kids of all ages and will only cost you around $1 to make! Enjoy this Grandparents Day Craft!
What you will need:
- Wooden picture frame (can be purchased at most craft stores for around $1)
- Old magazines or newspapers
- Non-Toxic glue
- Scissors (adult use only unless child can safely use them)
How to make picture frame craft:
- Cut or tear out fun pictures, words, and patterns from old magazines and newspapers.
- Glue magazine or newspaper clippings onto a wooden picture frame. Don’t forget to cover the edges of the picture frame as well!
- Cut or tear out letters to spell out G-R-A-N-D-M-A or G-R-A-N-D-P-A and glue this onto the top of the frame.
This is a fun and inexpensive craft not only for Grandparent’s Day, but can be used on other holidays and to decorate your child’s room, as well!
This Sunday we celebrate Grandparents day. Grandparents are those wonderful people who help children learn and love in a very special way. Today we meet Corinne, one of Kolcraft’s friendliest faces and a member of the Accounting department. Corinne is the grandmother to 3 year old Aiden and 1 year old Nicky.
What is your favorite part of being a grandma?
When I come over to visit, Aiden is so excited to see me. Having him on my lap, and he gives me hugs and kisses, is so special. He tells me he loves me and I just melt. Nicky is just learning to give little “hugs”. That is special also.
Has anything surprised you about being a grandma?
My time with my grandsons is one-on-one. I don’t have to worry about cooking and cleaning and giving baths and bedtime. I don’t think about “then they just go back home.” I love when Aiden spends the night and can’t wait until Nicky will join him. Now so many special memories of my children growing up come back to me so I get to relive those times. It helps me to appreciate what my own children have become.
What is your favorite thing to do with your grandchildren?
I just love being with them. They make each other laugh and giggle. Aiden and I love sharing popcorn in the evening when he is visiting me. Visiting at my house is special for both of us.
What is the one thing that never gets checked off your “to do list”?
Balancing my checkbook
What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. If we could only capture the love and spirit and spread it out over the whole year.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it?
I would take a long, hot bath, and just relax and not think about anything.
What is your favorite book?
I have no favorite, but I love mysteries and especially books written by Mary Higgins Clark.
Today’s Fun Friday craft is a Popsicle Puzzle that is sure to be fun and easy for kids of all ages!
What you need:
- Popsicle Sticks
- Non-toxic Crayons, Markers or Paint
What to do:
- Line up the Popsicle sticks in a row and tape them together. We used six Popsicle sticks, but older children can use more for a more advanced puzzle.
- Turn the Popsicle sticks over and use the crayons, markers or paint to decorate them, creating whatever image, animal, or pattern you’d like.
- Remove the tape from the back of the Popsicle sticks.
After you are done making today’s craft, mix up the Popsicle sticks and see if you can put them back together!