Month: July 2010

Traveling on planes with babes

 - by Sarah Lipoff

A milestone will take place next week. We will be venturing on our very first plane trip with our babe. I am excited to do some traveling and totally scared that we will be that family on the plane with that screaming child that just wont stop. You know, that one you’ve craned your neck to get a look at and then carefully stared down the parents?

Yeah, I’ve done that – before I had my own kid.

My daughter is not easily contained. Changing her diaper involves holding her down. Getting her into the car seat sometimes involves lots of patience. The idea of “holding her on my lap” for three hours makes my stomach do a scary-icky-twisty thing.

I fear for the rest of the passengers on that plane.

Basically, I’m probably going to be packing some undies and a t-shirt and shorts for myself, clothes for my babe, and fill every other available bit of space with stuff to entertain the child.

I’m not sure if it’ll be enough.

I am aware that I’m overreacting and the minute she gets on the plane she’ll probably fall asleep. But, you never know.

What has saved you on plane trips with your kids?

Seriously, please tell me. I need some help here!

Popsicles

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I have an 18-month-old that isn’t really fully talking yet and is starting to comprehend the power of the temper-tantrum. There are days, and moments, that are pretty special. Here’s an example.

Today, after my daughter woke up from her nap, she wasn’t really ready to let go of her blanky and paci. These are two very special items that she gets to have during sleepy times – and that’s it. One of my pet peeves is the pacifier. I’m not a big fan. I think it is great for comforting my babe, but not so wonderful for her budding language skills.

Anyway. My daughter wasn’t going to let go of her sleepy items. So, I let her have a couple extra minutes with them, but drew the line when she decided to drag freshly washed blanky outside with us. And, I’m sure you can figure out what happened next.

After about 20 minutes, it was time to put an end to the big mess and remove my now red-faced and snot-nosed daughter from her room. This involved prying each wee finger from the wooden slats of her crib as she desperately tried to extend her arms to reach blanky. I lugged her upstairs – upstairs to the miracle distraction.

Popsicle.

It’s like nothing ever happened.

I make my own popsicles with these super-cute little popsicle molds out of just about anything. Me and my daughter’s favorite is lemon water because she can carry it all around with her and I don’t chase behind worring she’s going to ruin my couch. They’re my daughter’s favorite because I haven’t made her, or actually given her, any other kind.

MY favorite popsicle is chocolate pudding popsicles. Yup, just follow the directions on the box, pour them into the popsicle molds, and patiently wait for them to freeze. Chocolate pudding popsicles make me forget what I was all in a tizzy about, too.

Healthful Mondays: Playing=learning

 - by Sarah Lipoff

As kids, we spent most of our time playing and figuring things out. As adults, we spend most of our time paying bills and taking care of various things from family to business to just keeping it together. We forget that part of learning, even in adult life, is through playing and allowing our brains some fun free-time. Just like kids, adults benefit from play time, too.

The importance of play in early childhood benefits learning in areas such as visual, spatial, verbal, physical, emotional – pretty much all aspects of being a complete human being. I don’t know about you, but I have early memories of trying over and over to squeeze a round-shaped plastic thingy into a square-shaped hole (even though it wasn’t working, I was persistent). I also remember running and chasing boys on the playground and feeling good about how my body could get quickly from one place to another.

Play is fun. Playing encourages learning.

As a new parent, I want to offer my child every wonderful opportunity to get ahead and be the best she can be. Spending time playing and interacting with her is at the top of my to do list daily. Along with encouraging her crazy playing, having her interact with others while playing helps her developing personality and hopefully her ability to share (we’ll see about that….).

So, why shouldn’t I spend some time playing, too? I haven’t given up on learning – I’ve got some years to live, and new skills and knowledge might come in handy. But, why is it that adults seem to have forgotten how to play? Is it that we’re lazy or too busy with all our new gadgets to play with each other or our kids?

Play connects us with others, encourages healthy behaviors, helps us cooperate, helps pass the time in a fun way….

Play is fun. Playing encourages learning.

So, what are you waiting for? Put down the computer and go PLAY.

Some days ARE better than others

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Yesterday was a perfect day. The weather was wonderful, my daughter in her best mood, and the husband excited to head out into the world and get things done. By the end of the day we all were shiny with a healthy glow of accomplishment. Everyone slept great and woke up ready for another great day.

And, of course, that didn’t happen.

We decided to attempt a road trip to Calistoga, which is about an hour and a half away. There is Old Faithful Geyser and the Petrified Forest in that neck of the woods, along with the itty-bitty-but-posh town of Calistoga, so we figured we could check out the geyser, walk the forest, and enjoy a great (but overpriced) lunch in town.

I packed for the event with snacks, water, sun block, baby books, a couple of toys, along with diapers and wipes. We weren’t sure how long our adventure would take us, so wanted to have necessary items ensuring we all wouldn’t go crazy.

Within the first five minutes of the car ride, all above mentioned items were littered about in the back seat. The babe wasn’t excited about anything. She wanted out. She wasn’t cooperating.

The husband and I put on our chiseled happy faces and through gritted teeth continued forth.

When we arrived at Old Faithful, it had just blew its faithfulness and wasn’t due for another 30 minutes. The sad (but famous) fainting goats didn’t entice us enough to pay the $20 for us all to venture in. Onward to the Petrified Forest!

Once we arrived at the forest there was NO way we WEREN’T going to check it out. So, we unloaded, strapped the wee tot into the stroller and squeezed through the small gift shop to purchase our overpriced admission tickets ($8 each adult) to walk through what we were imagining to be an amazing forest filled with petrified goodness.

After our 10-minute meander through the not-so-exciting forest, we decided to wander through the nettle filled picnic area and at least allow our child to enjoy some tasty snacks. Sadly, she was more interested in the stinging nettles than her food.

The struggle to strap her back into the car was almost enough to make my husband and I both curl into the fetal position and hide in the hatch back. But, we were determined to have lunch. So, once again, onward we went.

By this time, the middle of the day was upon us and pretty much every other person in the entire Napa/Sonoma area was heading out for lunch. As we drove by place after place that we enjoy having a bite to eat seeing line after line of people waiting, we decided that the frustrated whines of our child were best kept inside the car and not shared with others.

The hour drive back home was tiring. I kept thinking my daughter would fall asleep, but she’s stubborn like me. The whining wails continued as we drove along with my husband offering small special words of consolation, which made things worse.

As we pulled into the driveway, I reminded him that at least we had been to the Petrified Forest and knew we never needed to go there again. So, the day wasn’t a complete waste.

He did agree to that.

Taming those killer baby nails

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like a warrior bearing my various baby wounds – from the pinches, scratches and love bites, I’m all marked up. But, the worst are the itty-bitty baby nail scratches. Not only do they sting like a paper cut, once one is gone, another scratch shows up.

The best way to tame the scratches is to keep your babe’s nails nicely cut.

HA.

If you are able to easily and quickly cut your baby’s nails without any sort of fuss, please contact me as soon as possible with your amazing secret. I’ve tried it all, from clipping at night while she’s slumbering, first thing in the morning when she’s still a bit asleep, and even having someone else hold her while I attempt to cut away at the darn little things.

No matter what I try, she squirms and pulls her hands away, which inevitably makes me flinch and worry I will clip more than just her nail!

I was given a couple of baby nail care items before our daughter was born (a baby sized clipper, tweezers and nail file) and spent some time checking them out before trying them on the real thing. Infants like to keep their hands clenched – it’s a comfort thing – so even prying the small fists open can be the first challenge. Keep a smile on your face and try to remain calm even if you’re the one freaking out. Your babe picks up on your emotional cues, so if you are calm and cool, hopefully she will be, too.

At first my baby was all about having her small wee nails clipped. That was before she figured out what was happening. The nail file has become my new baby grooming friend, with its ability to calm those sharp nails without any clip-clip-clipping. It may take a little longer, but there’s no fear of cutting more than just your babe’s nails!

So, what happens when you make a bigger snip that you planned? Keep calm – your baby is going to cry (try not to yourself) but she will survive. Clean the cut with some gentle soap and put a small amount of baby-safe healing ointment on the finger. Before no time she’ll be good as new, although she might be a bit more resistant when she sees the clippers the next time.

Keeping your baby’s nails trimmed ensures she wont hurt more than just you. With tamed nails she wont cut herself OR cause any other kid damage during play dates or preschool.

Seriously – anyone out there have any special tricks to make nail trimming time a success?

Potty Training – It’s not going to happen in one day.

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I was amazed my daughter was showing signs of being ready to try the potty. So, last week, I rushed out and bought a child potty, set it up right next to the real deal in the bathroom and, by pure luck, the first time I sat her on her new potty seat, she went potty! I was totally ecstatic! My child had NO idea what was going on – or what I was celebrating about.

Every two hours I put her on the potty and hoped for another miracle. I was exhausted by the end of the second day. I think she was, too.

At first, she ran to the little potty full of fascination quickly ripping off her diaper and plopping her little tushy on the seat. She reached for toilet paper, inevitably pulled off way too many sheets, and tossed them in her baby potty throne. Then, the shininess wore off, and it was just another thing to sit on, push around, and try to pick up.

After about five days, we had both stopped running to the baby potty. I decided to not push potty training, and my daughter continued to need diapers. Instead of getting frustrated, I decided we would try again in a of couple weeks with a diligent try on the potty every two hours. We are traveling at the beginning of next month and I would hate to just start having potty training click only to have it disrupted by going on a trip. I also don’t feel like toting a potty seat on vacation.

Some parents are ready to do anything to make potty training happen, putting a potty in the car for traveling, bringing a travel potty seat that folds flat, and stopping their lives (and the others that might be with them) to have their child sit on the potty every two hours. I’m not ready for that. I don’t think my daughter is either.

So, while on vacation, I will let my daughter run about without a diaper in the comfort of grandma and grandpa’s yard to maybe experience peeing freely and getting a better understanding of her body and when it’s ready to go potty.

Hey, if it works, who cares!

Rikshaw Design Sale

 - by Sarah Lipoff

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about a good sale I’m all about sharing that special info with others – especially when I really like the products! Such is so with Rikshaw Design, a dreamy collection of items for babes and adults that blend hip styles with mod block prints, making one feel like they are wearing truly international clothing.

So, when a little birdie sang sweetly in my ear about an upcoming sale where select merchandise will be %50 off, I though you might want to know. I’m planning on picking up some cool stuff that wont be around again until next spring! Included in the sale will be all block printed baby apparel, accessories, and adult kurtas.

Rikshaw Design has been featured in People, American Baby, Mom Magazine, and CoolMomPicks.com – so this stuff is trendy and super cool. I’m always on the hunt for adorable clothes for my baby, and myself – who isn’t?! I LOVE this stuff – LOVE IT! The baby bloomers are just about the cutest thing ever (other than your own little cutie patootie)!

Founder and designer Catherine Fitzsimmons has traveled the globe taking inspiration from all the amazing adventures of her life and transforming them into beautiful block printed clothing.

The sale starts July 20th and runs through August 3rd – don’t miss it!

For more information, check out Rikshaw Design’s website at:

http://www.rikshawdesign.com/

Quinoa banana bread

 - by Sarah Lipoff

quinoa banana bread

I had a couple brown and squishy bananas hanging around that really needed something done with them. I also happen to have a wee tot hanging about who isn’t excited about eating most meat proteins and quickly growing a bit tired of cheese and beans. So, I figured making quinoa banana bread was a great solution!

Quinoa is an odd little grain that turns from a small round ball into a spiraling curl no bigger than a pea. Along with a nutty flavor, quinoa is packed with protein – a healthy 22 grams per cup. For finicky eaters already feeding on solids that don’t find chicken or tofu enticing, creating a meal that provides nourishment and is enjoyable can be accomplished through introducing quinoa into recipes.

This quinoa banana bread recipe creates a moist and tender bread that isn’t too sweet allowing the banana and quinoa flavors to shine through. You might notice that instead of butter, the recipe calls for oil. That’s because I enjoy my banana bread with a good layer of soft butter. Using oil in the bread instead of butter helps me to feel less guilty when indulging in a thick slice!

Ingredients

I cup cooked quinoa (follow package directions)

3 mushy bananas

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups flour

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the cooled cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl and stir together with bananas. Get the kids to help smashing and mushing the bananas, which encourages their fine-motor skills and is just plain fun!

Add the cinnamon, vanilla, salt, yogurt, oil, sugar and egg and continue mixing.

In a separate bowl, mix together the baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Add to the wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Grease a loaf pan and pour in the batter. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.

Remove the bread from the oven and let rest for as long as you can wait before cutting a slice. Cover with butter and enjoy the tasty flavor that also provides a healthy dose of protein. For even extra protein, spread the bread with peanut or almond butter, which is irresistible to kids (and most adults).

Lemon printmaking for kids

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

While baking some lemon muffins for a play date, my daughter wasn’t excited about not being the center of attention. She was clinging to my skirt, making moving about while baking my muffins almost impossible. I tried prying her away with the enticement of food, but she wasn’t having it. I needed to think of a different way to distract her.

I strapped her into the high chair and taped a paper onto the tray. Because I was using lemons for the muffins, I figured she could use one, too. With the help of a small amount of yellow watercolor paint, she could create a fun lemon printmaking artwork, which would keep her busy and also taste good!

I cut one in half and painted the exposed lemon with a small amount of yellow watercolor paint. Before handing over the lemon, I tapped it a couple of times on her paper showing how prints could be made from the flat side of the lemon. She was intrigued and continued tapping the lemon on her paper. After a bit, I wasn’t hearing a steady tap, tap, tap. Sure enough, my daughter had decided to take a time-out to taste test her new art material. Her face was a bit twisted up at the tartness, but she didn’t seem to mind. She spent even amounts of time sucking at the lemon and then slamming it onto her paper.

Before handing a lemon over to your wee tot to enjoy making lemon prints, remove as many seeds within sight of the cut lemon. This is supposed to be a fun art activity, not an opportunity to do the Heimlich maneuver. Re-apply yellow watercolor paint as often as you like to the cut lemon. Watercolor paints aren’t going to hurt your little one, and using something tasty as their art-making medium (the lemon) is a fun way for young kids to explore making art.

Don’t have any lemons in the house?  Half an apple, orange, or lime work great, also! The finished prints can be used for cutting practice, glued to the front of a recipe card for a recipe using lemons (like lemon muffins!), or simply enjoyed taped to the family fridge.