Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maternity Clothes for our UK Mums!

uk top uk pjs

People say it wasn’t that long ago that maternity clothes weren’t fashionable (or readily available!) at all.  My, how things have changed!  Now moms can be comfortable, fashionable, and ready for anything with the great clothes that are out there. 

One of the great things about Mommy’s Idea is that I get to learn about all kinds of fantastic products and websites.  For those of you having babies, and needing some great clothes, you’ll have to check out these maternity clothes from Very.co.uk!

The site boasts, “Great fashion for Mums to be” and they deliver.  Whether you’re staying in our going out, they have everything from comfy sleepwear to fashionable tops and dresses.  The casual tops are absolutely adorable and the sleepwear is the perfect mix of comfy and cute.  You’ll also find whatever kind of maternity jeans you love best.  There are jeans with that “over-the-bump” panel that keeps your tummy comfortable and concealed, as well as jeans with a stretch panel waist to wear “under” your bump.  Don’t forget those all important maternity and nursing bras- you’ll find those here too.  And they are as stylish and functional as the rest of the items for sale.

You’ll also find a “New Mum & Baby Handy Checklist” to keep organized in your journey to find all the baby essentials.  There’s even a maternity blog where you’ll find for lots of information and tips for moms.

So if you’re a mum-to-be, be sure to head on over!

Visit the site for more info

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*This is a sponsored post.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Five Simple Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Kids!

Hello everyone, my name is Rebecca Cooper and I'm so excited to be here on Mommy's Idea.

I am a SAHM of four (Emily 7, Carson 5, Addie 2 and Alivia 8 months), wife to my wonderful husband Randal, an avid scrapbooker and a professional photographer. We're from Canada but are living on the Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius for the time being and are loving our new tropical home. You can read more about our little family and our adventures on my blog Simple As That.

Today I'm going to share a few quick photography tips with you. Let me first start by asking who out there takes a lot of photos of their children? My hand is way up! In fact my husband thinks I take a few too many. ;)

Do you struggle to get that ever elusive smile? You know the one I'm talking about right? A 'real' smile, not one of those cheesy grins we know all too well. Perhaps you're stuck at getting your child to stay still long enough to snap a photo that isn't blurry? Whatever your photography woes are, when it comes to taking pictures of your own children, I have a few ideas that might help.

1. No More Cheese Please. While it may seem to do the trick, asking your child to 'say cheese' will yeild a smile that is just that...cheesy. Try engaging your child in a conversation about something they are interested in (ie. an upcoming birthday, their favorite tv show, a recent family trip, what you're going to do after pictures) and be ready to catch that winning smile. While it may take a little more time, that beautiful smile is always worth the wait!

My two-year old Addie has the cheesy smile down to a science but when we get serious and start talking Princesses or Dora the real smiles aren't hard to find!

2. Be Prepared. When taking photos of your children a little bit of planning can go a long way. I like to have everything ready ahead of time that I may need for photos to make the best use out of our picture taking time. Have a chair ready for them to sit on, snacks or a drink, diaper wipes handy for a messy face or runny nose. Make sure your camera settings are correct and your battery is fully charged, etc. Plan around your child's schedule so they won't be hungry or tired during photos. Any planning you can do ahead of time will make your photos go that much smoother.

Naptime doesn't usually make for good picture time.  ;)

3. Make it Quick. Children's attention spans aren't very long so make the most out of your photo taking time by being quick with your camera. Know your camera well so that you can switch quickly and easily between settings when needed (your camera's manual is a great resource to learn the ins and outs of your camera). Adjust your camera settings where necessary to capture more images in a short amount of time. Burst mode or sports mode are great tools for this especially if you have a young child who is on the move. If you are shooting in manual be sure to check that shutter speed and make sure its fast enough as well.

This little guy was busy as could be but when he was ready to sit down for a second (literally) I was there with my camera waiting and got this quick shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Let Your Child Set the Pace. Capturing great photos of your kids happens most often when you allow yourself to step back, observe and let your child run the show. My kids love it when I let them have a turn choosing their poses, where to sit, or to make a silly face for the camera and when it's mom's turn afterwards they are much more cooperative. Be sure to pay attention to your child's cues as to when they're finished with photos. If it's no longer fun for your child put the camera away for a while and change activities or come back to it another day.

 Emily's turn...

mom's turn...

5. Make it Fun. Associating fun times with getting their photos taken is exactly what you want your children to do. Not only will they enjoy getting the photos taken but they will actually look forward to them the next time. Enjoy a special treat together after pictures, bring along a fun prop (ie. balloons, a bubble maker), hand the camera over to your child and let them play the photographer. If you have a busy toddler who doesn't want to stand still we like to play the game stand on the ___________. Find an object on the ground like a stick, rock, or bring a long some stickers that they can stand on and try not to fall off of. There are many things you can do to make pictures a fun experience for you and your child.
Capturing memorable photos of my children is so important to me as I know it is to so many of us. I hope these 5 simple tips will be useful the next time you pull out your camera to capture some of those memorable photos of your own. For more easy to follow photography tips check out Rebecca's ebook 40 Top Tips for Better Photos by Ella Publishing.40 Top Tips for Better Photos: Simple suggestions for stunning photographs (by Rebecca Cooper)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baby Safety Month!

baby reading

Below are results from a recent national survey that Munchkin fielded of more then 1,900 parents. 

Munchkin recently fielded a national survey of 1,500 parents and found:

  • 96% of parents listed their child’s safety as their #1 top concern as a parent; 4% listed another top concern
  • 90% of parents think about the safety of their child every single day 
  • 69% of parents understand that household accidents are a leading cause of death among children under four years of age
  • 86% of parents believe a safety gate is a must-have item for a secure home for their baby
  • 30% of parents have purchased more than three safety gates for their home
  • 45% of parents install a safety gate at the top of the steps, 43% block off the kitchen and 37% for the living/family room
  • 34% of parents leave a safety gate installed for over a year
  • 75% of parents list safety as the top feature they consider when shopping for a safety gate 

The new Munchkin Safety Gates boast innovative features including double and optional third lock mechanisms, U-shaped steel “powerframes” and spring-hinges to reduce impact on household walls. Thoughtful design touches make these gates easy to use with extra wide walk-through doorways and convenient self-closing or push-to-shut gates, and are approved for use virtually anywhere in the home. Munchkin Safety Gates incorporate attractive, design aesthetics without compromising safety, and they are available in a range of materials and finishes to meet a variety of parents’ preferences. Munchkin Safety Gates are now available at Babies “R” Us stores nationwide and will be available at additional retailers in January 2011. For more information on retailers and availability dates, please visit www.infantgates.com or www.munchkin.com.


*Photo by Ramona Gaukel

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Great New Networking Site for Moms! Built by Dad. :)

social toddler
www.socialtoddler.com 

Meet Rich from Social Toddler!
Tell us a little about you . . .
My name is Rich Rotzang, I’m the Founder of Social Toddler and the father of a 2.5 year old little girl named Libby.

What is your business and where can we find it?
Social Toddler (http://www.socialtoddler.com) is a social networking platform for parents that are looking for ways to keep their young children busy. Members can find playgroups, plan playdates, meet local parents, and find local activities. The site operates in the United States and Canada.
Is it mom-owned, invented, created . . .?
It’s mom inspired, and dad built. I actually came up with the idea for the site because my wife needed a better way to stay connected with her playgroup. When our daughter was born, my wife started going to a mommy and me class. All of the women in the group were first time moms so there was a lot of information being shared back and forth via email – everything from product recommendations to playdate appointments. I saw this and thought that if we could create a place online for moms that know each other to communicate, it would simplify their day-to-day activities. This was the original inspiration behind the site.
A little about your entrepreneur journey so far?
Getting started is always the toughest part, or so I’ve been told. At a certain point in my life, I made the decision that I wanted to be in control of my future. Once the idea of Social Toddler came to me, I made the leap.
Because my background is in marketing, and not engineering, I needed someone that could actually build the site. So, I brought on a former colleague of mine, Neeraj Mittal, to be my partner and Co-Founder – without him, it would not have been possible to build the site. It took some time to get the site up and running, we tested, re-tested, built, re-built and did tons of research before we were confident that we could go to market.
Even with all that, it’s always interesting to see how customers react to the features you build, and how they end up using the site. No matter how much research you do, or how much you think you know, there is no substitute for real users interacting with the site. To this day, we rely heavily on customer feedback when building new features.
Where else can people find you?
We’re on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/socialtoddler) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/socialtoddler) and we also have a blog at blog.socialtoddler.com
Anything else you’d like to share?
In addition to playgroups, playdates, and activities, we also work with a number of well known parenting experts who write articles and answer user questions. Our experts are also business owners, who themselves have had unique and interesting entrepreneurial journeys.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Early Childhood Education – Acquiring Sign Language

baby hand

Early Childhood Education – Acquiring Sign Language

One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.

Signing Before They Can Speak

A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.

This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:

"...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children

can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children

can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces

frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves

before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The author also cites a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).

The Best Time To Start

Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Georgia educational child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose educational child care schools.  Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

*Photo by Abdulaziz Almansour

Monday, September 20, 2010

Win EcoSMART Products!

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(Winner gets an EcoSMART bundle, which might include products like EcoSMART organic insect killer or weed and grass killer.  You’ll get to choose your EcoSMART productsHere's how to enter . . .

1. Visit http://www.ecosmart.com.
2. Come back here and leave a comment telling us which bundle you’d choose.
3.. Be sure to leave your e-mail if you don't have a blogger ID.  Bloggers- you must have a public profile and listed e-mail for us to find you.

Who wants extra entries?!
(Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Current subscribers, you can use these extra entries too, since we’re so happy to have you here!)

-Sign up for our Mommy's Idea feed or e-mail feed. (Over to the right.)

-Become a follower of Mommy's Idea.

-Blog about and link to this giveaway. Please leave your blog url in your comment.

-Share this post via Stumble, Digg, etc.

-Add our Mommy’s Idea button and/or Ellie Bags button to your site.

-Become a fan on Facebook

-Tweet about this giveaway. (You can add an extra entry every day that you tweet it!)

Open to residents of the Continental US.

Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, October 4, 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Key Concerns for New Moms

babyClare Bloomfield / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Playtex recently sponsored a survey that identified key concerns among first time moms. Examples of the survey results include:

  • Top Troubles: Nearly half of first-time moms (49 percent) cited gas as their top feeding problem, followed by difficulty breastfeeding (37 percent), fussiness or difficulty feeding (33 percent) and problems latching or sucking (32 percent).

  • Full of Concern: The majority of moms surveyed (70 percent) share a common concern that their baby is eating enough during feedings.

  • Hungry for Help: Moms are searching for answers and validation as they become feeding “experts” for their own baby. More than half of survey respondents (56 percent) ask feeding-related questions during their regular pediatrician appointments; with more than one in four (26 percent) doing so at every visit.

Here are some links you can check out for more information . . .

Top Tips For Working Moms on the Go: http://www.akamediainc.com/Client/Playtex/Vignette9wSuper.htm

Three Top Feeding Concerns:  Colic, Gas and Spit-Up:
http://www.akamediainc.com/Client/Playtex/Vignette12wSuper.htm

How to Establish a Healthy and Happy Feeding Routine:
http://www.akamediainc.com/Client/Playtex/Vignette10wSuper.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Website Roundup . . .

I hear about a lot of interesting sites that have some great products and services.  I thought I’d pass a few of them along and start having “Website Roundup” posts.  Today’s category is simply “Miscellaneous.”  Check these out!
dillon
Contests from Lexington Studio- Just after becoming a new mother, Sandra decided that she would paint "functional art pieces" to decorate her new son's bedroom and to preserve special memories of her baby.  Now she makes recipe boxes, customized wedding and anniversary gifts, birdhouses, and the list of practical, adorable things goes on...
Check out these great contests on her site.
“The Cutest Doodle" Contest
"Hippest Kid" Contest


dayWedding eveWedding
Pregnant? Bump up Your wardrobe for half the price: Rent maternity dresses for that special occassion.  What a great idea- instead of spending a lot of money to wear it once, now you can rent it!  “Brilliant thing of the day: Netflix for maternity dresses." -New York Times Reporter Jodi Kantor on Twitter www.RentMaternityWear.com

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For those in the maternity industry- Free subscription to the new trade magazine dedicated to the maternity trade industry.  This quarterly print publication will cover the trends seasonally providing "the retailers' complete perspective of the market".  To subscribe, take a minute to sign up at www.maternity360.net.

esp_baby
Planning for College- Gerber Life Start Smart College Plan. It’s an alternative plan that will allow parents to save for their children’s education by making affordable monthly payments. Its main advantage over traditional 529  plans is that the payment is guaranteed – no need to worry about interest rate fluctuation or market volatility. You can learn more about the Start Smart College Plan herehttp://www.gerberlife.com

Win a Milly The Pinkest Kitten Stuffed Animal!

Cute & Cuddly!- Milly™ The Pinkest Kitten, is a brand new stuffed animal line from Aurora, the company behind the best selling international toy brand YooHoo & Friends™. Aurora’s (http://shop.auroragift.com) newest plush animal line is all about PINK. http://www.facebook.com/auroraworld

These adorable kittens are a pretty pink color, nice and soft, and ready to cuddle.  Some of them are even scented with a nice soft smell.  The vanilla is great!  Some do have small pieces, so choose carefully if it’s for a young baby.  Win one below!

pink

Here's how to enter . . .

1. Visit http://shop.auroragift.com.  Choose “Milly” on the left.
2. Leave a comment telling us which product you’d pick.
3.. Be sure to leave your e-mail if you don't have a blogger ID.  Bloggers- you must have a public profile and listed e-mail for us to find you.

Who wants extra entries?! (Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Current subscribers, you can use these extra entries too, since we’re so happy to have you here!)

-Sign up for our Mommy's Idea feed or e-mail feed. (Over to the right.)

-Become a follower of Mommy's Idea.

-Blog about and link to this giveaway. Please leave your blog url in your comment.

-Share this post via Stumble, Digg, etc.

-Add our Mommy’s Idea button and/or Ellie Bags button to your site.

-Become a fan on Facebook

-Tweet about this giveaway. (You can add an extra entry every day that you tweet it!)


Open to residents of the US.

Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, September 24, 2010.

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*I have received a sample product to review.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Fun Place to Shop Online!

I am currently in the process of organizing everything in my house and getting rid of the many things I don’t need.  What a task!  Even though I know that I don’t really need anything else, it’s still fun to look and to shop.  :)  I especially like to shop online where you can find just about anything. 

bistro My-Baby-Sam-Go-Car-Go-Throw-Pillow
I love sites like Amazon that have a million things in one spot.  I recently found one that is also great for finding what you need in one place.  Whether it’s something functional like these cute bistro sets, decorating the baby’s room, finding just the right wall art, or even a play tent, you can find it here.  Many of the items even ship free- now that’s one of my favorite things about a shopping site.  Check them out at CSNstores.com and have fun!  Even if you’re just looking.  :)

 

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*I will be receiving a sample product to review.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Win a Package from Finish! A New Way to Run Your Dishwasher.

FINISH has come up with a neat little gadget to make running your dishwasher even easier.  It’s as simple as placing the system on the top rack of your dishwasher and then you don’t have to worry about it for 12 washes.  Now, you have to make sure you explain this to your husband or he may put the normal detergent in as well.  :)  It cleans really well and doesn’t take up too much room.  See it for yourself hereSee below for how to win!
finish
Designed to release a pre-measured dose of detergent for
12 washes, FINISH® QUANTUMATIC™ takes the effort out of
dishwashing. The advanced detergent releases each agent
when needed during the cycle – powerful enzymes to soften
burnt on food, bleach to attack tough stains like coffee and
tea, and rinse agent to deliver amazing shine. In fact, the
detergent formula is so powerful, there's no need to pre-rinse
your dishes.

Here's how to enter . . .
1. Leave a comment telling us anything about you and your dishes.  :)
2.. Be sure to leave your e-mail if you don't have a blogger ID.  Bloggers- you must have a public profile and listed e-mail for us to find you.

Who wants extra entries?! (Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Current subscribers, you can use these extra entries too, since we’re so happy to have you here!)


-Sign up for our Mommy's Idea feed or e-mail feed. (Over to the right.)

-Become a follower of Mommy's Idea.

-Blog about and link to this giveaway. Please leave your blog url in your comment.

-Share this post via Stumble, Digg, etc.

-Add our Mommy’s Idea button and/or Ellie Bags button to your site.

-Become a fan on Facebook

-Tweet about this giveaway. (You can add an extra entry every day that you tweet it!)

Open to residents of the US.

Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.
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* I have received a sample product to review.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Win a Wet Ones Package!

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes canister, travel pack, and 24-count individually wrapped to-go packages

wet ones

A great giveaway as students everywhere head back to school.  Great for back to school, to have around the house, in the car . . .  Want to win some?

 

Here's how to enter . . .

1. Leave a comment telling us how this package would help you!
2.. Be sure to leave your e-mail if you don't have a blogger ID.  Bloggers- you must have a public profile and listed e-mail for us to find you.

Who wants extra entries?! (Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Current subscribers, you can use these extra entries too, since we’re so happy to have you here!)

-Sign up for our Mommy's Idea feed or e-mail feed. (Over to the right.)

-Become a follower of Mommy's Idea.

-Blog about and link to this giveaway. Please leave your blog url in your comment.

-Share this post via Stumble, Digg, etc.

-Add our Mommy’s Idea button and/or Ellie Bags button to your site.

-Become a fan on Facebook

-Tweet about this giveaway. (You can add an extra entry every day that you tweet it!)


Open to residents of the US and Canada.

Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, September 20, 2010.

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* I have received a sample product to review.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Win a Girl’s Day Planner!

 

planner2 planner

What's inside -

The planner is compiled into an 8x10 coil book, small enough to carry yet big enough to track your life and the memories along the way.

  • In between each month there is a full budgeting page, complete with a spot to chart your long term savings goals! 
  • There is also a social page with room for goals, priorities, journaling, etc.
  • Your day is set up to 'hold it all', from the priority for the day, homework planning and evening plans.  At the end of each week you have spots designated for 'assignment updates and deadlines', 'need to get done list', and what you can't forget for that week.
  • The rest of the planner consists of room for notes, 'did you know facts', math help formulas, contacts etc.

here's a glimpse inside . . .

the budget page, social page, beginning of the week, ending of the week

(The new women’s planner will be out soon too and it is a good one!)

“The reason behind the title  'Day by Day, me...refined' is that as each day goes by in this amazing stage in a tween/teens life your being refined into the individual that God has intended for you to be.  It’s a process and it happens bit by bit, day by day.  While I was pondering different titles for it, the song entitled 'Refiners Fire' by Brian Doerksen just kept coming to mind.”

 

Here's how to enter . . .

1. Visit http://www.chaossimplified.com.
2. Leave a comment telling us who this planner would be for.
3.. Be sure to leave your e-mail if you don't have a blogger ID.  Bloggers- you must have a public profile and listed e-mail for us to find you.

Who wants extra entries?! (Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Current subscribers, you can use these extra entries too, since we’re so happy to have you here!)

-Sign up for our Mommy's Idea feed or e-mail feed. (Over to the right.)

-Become a follower of Mommy's Idea.

-Blog about and link to this giveaway. Please leave your blog url in your comment.

-Share this post via Stumble, Digg, etc.

-Add our Mommy’s Idea button and/or Ellie Bags button to your site.

-Become a fan on Facebook

-Tweet about this giveaway. (You can add an extra entry every day that you tweet it!)

Open to residents of the US and Canada.
Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

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