Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.~Meryl Streep

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect.  Everything gets reduced to essentials.~Meryl Streep

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Consignment Shopping

I love great deals and shopping in a Consignment store is one way I save and make a little money! But how do you know if you are getting a great deal or just buying used rags? Anyone can shop Consignment, but to be great at it all you need are some tips, patience, and a little endurance.

Here are some tips to being a smart consignment shopper:
  1. Know your price range before shopping. Consignment shops differ in price ranges, so know your budget before picking a store. If you are looking to spend $10 to $20, you should look at going to a lower-end resale store. For high-end designers, only go to high-end consignment shops.
  2. Don't be in a rush and if can make the trip without the kids, do it. Consignment stores have so much at great discounts; you have got to take your time looking. I search through the racks for the really good bargains that have been marked down.
  3. Check the stores return policy. Each store has their own return policy and you need to know if they accept returns, give store credit, and how long you have to bring back an item.
  4. Only buy items in like-new condition. You should only shop at stores that sell excellent condition items, and always review the condition of the item before purchasing it. Never accept items that have holes, stains or are tarnished in any way.
  5. Sign up on their guest book, personal shopper lists, or e-mail lists. It’s a great way to request items you are looking for and they will call you when the item comes in. You will also receive newsletter updates on sales and upcoming events.
  6. Make friends with the sales people. New items come in daily, and often times items don't even make it onto the rack, so stop into the store once a week.

Consignment stores are also a great way to make some extra money on clothing, toys, or items that are no longer used. Most Consignment stores will give you 40% of the price of each item sold, in cash, or 50% of the price of the items sold, in store credit.

Here are some tips to Consigning your own stuff:

  1. Make sure your clothes are clean and neatly folded. The better your clothes look, the quicker they will sell, and the quicker you will get money. Try fabric softener-your clothes will smell great.
  2. Equipment sells better with instructions and current price info.
  3. Equipment and accessories also must be cleaned.
  4. Bring your stuff in early in the season. The earlier you bring them in, the higher it can be priced and the more money you will make. Some stores reduce the sale price 25% after being on the rack for a month.
  5. Save yourself the trip and call ahead to make sure they are accepting the items you’re looking to consign.

Like I said I love great deals! And fact that I can take some of my daughter’s items in to consign and exchange for what she needs is a great money saving technique that I will utilize for several years. To locate a store near you either check your local phone book or go to

I have two personal favorite Consignment stores that I shop at and consign regularly: Little Trends located in Dracut, MA and Mother & Child located in Nashua, NH. If you are looking to be a Consignor or just Consignment shopping I highly suggest checking out these two stores! They both have great deals, monthly events, and special reward programs for frequent shoppers. Check them out!!!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Exercising During Pregnancy

Though you may not feel like running a marathon, many women benefit from exercising during their pregnancies. Early in the pregnancy, you should talk with your doctor or health advisor about starting/continuing an exercise routine. The amount of exercise recommended depends largely on your pre-pregnancy condition and be prepared to make adjustments to your routine throughout the pregnancy.

Exercise not only benefits you, but also the baby. A weekly exercise routine can help you feel better by toning muscles, reduce back aches, reduce constipation, and help you sleep better at night by reducing stress. Exercising not only helps you return to your pre-pregnancy weight, but also prepares your body for birth. Strong muscles and a good heart have been proven to greatly ease pain and delivery (so they say). And just in case you have a lengthy labor, good endurance will help. Studies have also shown that exercise reduces complications like preeclamsia and gestational diabetes.

Now I’m not saying that if you exercise you definitely won’t experience any of these challenges. I exercised prior, throughout, and post pregnancy and still struggle with high blood pressure. We can’t change our genetics, but we can help to minimize complications and challenges that may come our way.

Since I was labeled as being in good health condition, my doctor gave me the go ahead to continue my normal exercise routine. I recommend that if you don’t have any restrictions from your health advisor continue your routine, but listen to your body.

Suggestions for following an exercise routine:

  • If you are tired or it hurts…stop. Give yourself a break…you are pregnant!
  • At the gym, lower the weight if you have any pain or anything feels uncomfortable.
  • Wear a belly band for extra back support…it worked wonders for me!
  • If you experience dizziness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or pain in your back or pelvis than stop.
  • Avoid activities that require bouncing, jarring, leaping, or sudden change of direction.
  • Just keep moving…every little bit counts!

My well rounded exercise routine during pregnancy:

  • Went to the gym 3 times a week.
  • Always used a cardio machine, but instead of 20 minutes I did either 10 or 15 minutes. If you have high blood pressure, make sure that your heart rate doesn't go above 140.
  • Weights for upper and lower body. As I advanced through my pregnancy I decreased the weight to make it more comfortable. I discontinued my abdominal workout around 5 ½ months because it was uncomfortable. It is also recommended that at 5 months not do anything that requires you to be flat on your back.
  • Stopped mountain biking around 6 months because it was uncomfortable.
  • I walked almost everyday…it’s so easy to do this!
  • I returned to the gym about 2 months post-partum with the same routine I was doing when I left and built it back up.
  • Almost immediately after having the baby you can start walking and doing Kegal exercises. I also bought an exercise ball for the days I couldn’t make it to the gym…at least I still got a little workout at home.

Warnings signs to check with your doctor:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Racing heartbeat or chest pain
  • Fluid leaking from your vagina
  • Uterine contractions

Wondering how to get started here are some ideas:

  • Start gradually. Even 5 minutes a day is a good start if you've been inactive. Add 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes.
  • Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes and wear a supportive bra.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating and dehydration.
  • Skip your exercises if you're sick.
  • Go for a walk in an air-conditioned mall on hot, humid days.
  • Remember to listen to your body and have fun!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who's Due Next?


Naomi Lowde-Priestley announced last month that their second baby is on the way. Here she is showing off her belly at the 24th Annual Odyssey Ball with husband Jason Priestley. Jason and Naomi also have a daughter Ava Veronica whose 21 months.


Elisabeth announced that she is due in August with a third child. Tim and Elisabeth have a daughter Grace who is 3 1/2 and Taylor who is 17 months.


Nicole is pregnant with her second son and due this summer. Her baby boy will join older son Dashel Pierce who is 23 months.
For additional info on mom-to-be celebs go to

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Yummy Apple Flaps

Here is a healthy and tasty breakfast your whole family will enjoy. My 15 month old loves eating apple flaps and they are so easy to make! I cut the them into little pieces and she just gobbles them up. You can make a couple apple flaps and store the remaining batter in the refrigerator for the next couple of days.
Depending on their age, this is a great opportunity for older children to help with stirring or dividing the ingredients. Here is the recipe…let me know how much your family enjoys them!

1 ½ c. Flour (I use wheat flour)
2 T. Sugar
1 T. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Salt
2 Eggs, beaten
¾ c. Milk
2 T. Melted Butter
1 c. Applesauce

Mix the first 4 ingredients together. Combine eggs, milk, butter, and applesauce. Stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Cook on hot griddle or pan, just like you would with pancakes.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

How To Have A Healthy Pregnancy

One of the best moments in my lifetime is becoming a mother. It's a feeling that only other mothers can understand. From the time I conceived and throughout the next 9 months or so, all I wanted was a healthy baby. Sex, appearance, and color did not matter just a healthy child. A mothers health comes first and should be the primary concern of any expecting mother. I quickly understood that taking care of myself was and still is the most important focus of motherhood.
It is important to follow a certain healthy lifestyle and avoid a few things to insure a healthy baby. An expectant mother must stay healthy by eating nutritious foods. You are not just eating for yourself, but also for your baby. A balanced and nutritious diet must include fruits, vegetables, milk products, meat, and protein daily. A pregnant woman must also consume about a gallon of water a day, to keep herself hydrated and to keep the baby healthy.

Here Are Foods To Avoid

Unpasteurized Products :

  • Raw Milk

  • Soft cheeses : feta goat cheese, brie, camemberts

  • Mexican-style cheeses : queso blanco and queso fresco

  • Unpasteurized juice

Raw Eggs :

  • Raw eggs

  • Caesar dressing
  • Egg nog (unpasteurized)

  • Hollandaise sauce

  • Cookie batter

  • Homemade ice cream

Undercooked Meat:

  • Deli meat

  • Sushi

  • Pates

  • Raw seafood, especially shellfish

  • Undercooked chicken or meat

Certain Fish:

Following is a link to a chart that shows which fish are safe during pregnancy and which ones to stay away from.

Other things that pregnant women must avoid that effect the development of the fetus:

  • Alcohol or Drugs

  • OTC or over the counter medicines

  • Consumption of a lot of hot or spicy food items

  • Limit caffeine

  • Some vitamin supplements

  • Jacuzzi’s, Sauna or sun bathing, as it has been found that women with over heated bodes tend to deliver baby’s with neural defects.

There several evidences that indicates exercise is very healthy for expectant women. A weekly exercise routine that incorporates both cardio and weights will help you feel better, assist the laboring process, and help shed the baby weight quicker. I exercised throughout my pregnancy, right up to 2 weeks before I had my daughter and returned to the gym when she was 2 months (check with your health advisor for their suggestions). As my pregnancy progressed I modified my workout. It is important to keep moving, listen to your body, and do what you can...every little bit counts!

All of this information is not only useful for expecting mothers, but also pre and post pregnancy. Nursing mothers need to be extra careful about food consumption because it can seep into the mother's breast milk (I will write about the effects of nursing another time). But of course check with your health advisor if you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy. Stay healthy and enjoy your pregnancy!!!

Sources: &

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Laundry Saving Ideas

  • Instead of changing the bed sheets every week, change them every other week. By going to bed clean it will help keep your sheets clean too.
  • Reuse bath towels. Instead of putting them in the laundry after every use, change them out every week or so.
  • Assign a bath towel color to each family member so they know which one is theirs.
  • Throwing a dry towel in with wet clothes helps the load dry faster.
  • If your clothes are clean fold them and put them away to wear another time instead of putting them in the laundry.

Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun Activity Centers & Infantino Lion & Lamb Grabby Rattles Recall

Evenflo ExerSaucer Triple Fun Activity Centers

Activity centers sold between October 2006 through February 2009 have been recalled because an end cap can come off, which may result to child falling. Call 800-233-5921 to replace the end cap or for more information visit

Infantino Lion and Lamb Grabby Rattles

Rattles sold between May 2007 through September 2008 have been recalled because the lion's tail may detach, resulting in a choking hazard. Call 888-808-3111 for product replacement or for more information visit

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Making Baby Food

It may seem impossible, but it not as difficult and time consuming as you may think. By preparing bulk food a couple times a week or even once a month, your overall food prep time will be cut to only a few minutes per serving. I started making, prepping, and freezing Alexis's food when she was 6 months of age. It has saved me time in the long run and she doesn't have to wait for her food. We all know how impatient babies are when they want to eat! You just need to take it out of the freezer and's that simple.

What I love the most about making my own baby food is that I know exactly what is in it and that my baby is getting all the nutrients she needs. You also can't beat price per ounce when making your own vs. store bought. Tools you need to make your own baby food are:
  • Blender or Food processor
  • Small Tupperware for storage
  • Ice Cube trays for storage
  • Zip Lock bags to store frozen food cubes
This website is a resource I used on a weekly basis. Here you will find baby food recipes, tips for cooking and preparing baby food, and what foods are safe to introduce and when. I'm telling you this was my bible for making Alexis's food! It's so easy...if I can do it so can you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Making Your Own Play Kitchen!

My daughter Alexis isn’t old enough yet, but when she is I would like to make a play kitchen for her. I found this idea originally from a crafting blog, but have thought about the idea myself in the past.

It is a play stove top made from a plastic box and swirls made with construction paper. You can keep all the kitchen toys in the box and take them out to cook. It's a brilliant space saver idea! You can find detailed information at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stretch Marks: One Way To Prevent Them

Wondering what to use to prevent stretch marks on the belly? Try Deep Comfort Body Butter made by Clinique. One of my friends told me about it when I was about 6 weeks pregnant and I am so glad she did! A few friends and I used this product throughout our pregnancy and we did not get any stretch marks…AMAZING! From what I have read, body butter is very good moisturizer for the skin. Just rub it on your belly daily throughout your pregnancy. Deep Comfort Body Butter comes in a 6.7 oz. container and can be purchased either online through several websites or select stores for $23.50. The sweet aroma and rich smooth texture makes it worth the money!

To read product reviews and additional information about the use of this product go to:

Monday, April 13, 2009

When We Came Home From The Hospital

If you are a new or expecting mom you need to read this!

The second night Alexis was home, she wouldn’t sleep in her bassinet, crying every time we put her down. This was full fledged, red in the face, screaming at the top of her lungs cry. Of course being first time parents we were doubt founded and knew that something was wrong. We tried everything; walking, feeding, changing, and anything we could think of, but nothing worked.

After 6 hours of dealing with this, it was about 3:00 am and we decided to call the pediatrician. We got the BEST advice ever!!! Since I was breast feeding, my milk came in and Alexis was getting used to having food in her stomach. The pressure of the food in her stomach made it VERY uncomfortable for her. The doctor recommended putting her to sleep in her car seat because it takes the pressure off. We were amazed, it worked right away and Alexis slept for 5 hours straight…she was exhausted! We put Alexis to sleep in her car seat for about a week. When she started sleeping in her bassinet, we put a couple books under the mattress to elevate her body. Elevating the baby’s head also helps with gas issues. We elevated Alexis head when she was sleeping in her bassinet and crib. Works really well!!!

My husband and I where very upset that the hospital did not share this information with us prior to leaving. So my goal is to pass this little tidbit of advice for new moms and moms-to-be! Please help me in sharing this wonderful information...I really wish someone shared this with me!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sensitive Baby Doll

If your child has asthma, allergies, or other sensitivities, than I have found a doll for them. Sensitive baby is a certified asthma and allergy friendly toy. It is manufactured with materials that do not contain chemicals or allergens that have been known to trigger asthma. Although there are specific custom care guidelines to follow throughout the life of this doll, it is very simple. There are several dolls to choose from for all ages. My daughter received this doll as an Easter gift and she LOVES it! The clothes come off for easy cleaning and dress up! Sensitive Baby can be found at Toys R Us and several online stores.

For more information go to:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Free Printable Activities

Are you looking for FREE lesson plans or printable activities, especially themed ones? Well take a look at Here you will find free preschool lesson plans, educational early childhood activities, printable crafts, and other resources for children ages 18 months through 6 years of age. It’s a great resource for parents who home school, childcare providers, babysitters, and parents! First School gives instructions for each activity, templates to choose from, gives age suggestions for activities, and lists materials needed for each activity. Could it get more simple or convenient? Hours of fun and learning for children of several ages!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Would You Like To Own Harlow Madden's Hand-Me-Downs?

Nicole Richie is selling her 14 month daughter's clothing for charity at Some items you can bid on include a Maclaren Lacoste stroller signed by Nicole, a Ralph Lauren romper, a rainbow striped cashmere sweater, and infant moccasins. This auction runs through Friday April 17 and all the proceeds will go to the Richie-Madden Foundation, which helps disadvantaged kids. This is a great opportunity to support a great cause and own some star-struck clothing!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Creative and Cost-Effective Tips

When your children outgrow their sand box, convert it to a garden. Grow vegetables, plants, and flowers. It’s a creative and healthy way to teach children healthy eating habits and raising a garden.

Looking for cost effective ideas? Here are 3 ways to save on much needed alone time with the hubby, especially if family isn’t around to help out!

Go on a date during the day:
Going out for lunch or a matinee is cheaper than fancy dinner and an evening movie. Plus a responsible teenager is probably more than willing to baby-sit at a discounted rate mid-day.

Group date:
Team up with other friends who have children and split the cost of a sitter. Offer to pay the sitter a little more, you will still pay less than if she were working for you alone.

Trade with friends:
Ask a friend to watch your children and than offer to watch theirs. It’s a win win!

How To Eliminate Breast-Feeding Completely

Normally children begin to show an interest in weaning between 6-12 months of age. If your child hasn’t weaned by 12-18 months than usually the parent needs to initiate it, but the child is still receptive. After 18 months of age, experts say that children usually resist weaning because they become too attached to the breast. I noticed that my daughter was showing a disinterest in the breast around 11 months of age. She would nurse for short periods, want to play, and become easily distracted. It wasn’t until she was 12 months that I started the weaning process.

To prevent engorgement and shock to the child, it is important to gradually eliminate breast-feedings. I took it slowly, fully weaning my daughter within 2 months. It may also be best to postpone weaning during any major development period or any major changes. Keep in mind it that it is possible to eliminate breast-feeding more quickly. This was the speed I chose that was conducive for both my child and myself.

When weaning, eliminate the feeding that is least important to your child, which is usually the mid-day one. Replace the feeding with one complete cup feeding. If the child is older than 12 months, you can use whole milk. Otherwise use formula or expressed breast milk. About once a week or when you or baby is comfortable, drop a breast feeding. The morning and the bedtime nursing are usually the last to go and there is no reason why you can’t continue it if that’s what you and your children want.

Since this is an adjustment to your baby’s schedule, utilizing distraction during weaning may be helpful. Playing with toys, reading a book, or cuddling will assist your child during this transition. Keep in mind, DO NOT sit in the same place you nurse your child, nor use the same words/language. It is amazing how smart babies are. They can associate both the scenery and word usage with nursing. If weaning has not been successful or you have any questions/concerns, call your pediatrician.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Banana Muffins

Do you have a picky eater? Here is a quick, easy, and healthy banana muffin recipe, your toddler is sure to love! This recipe yields 12 muffins, but I double the ingredients to make 2 batches. These muffins also freeze very well. Older children can help with the measuring and mixing...great for a rainy day activity. My daughter loves these muffins...let me know how your family likes them!

2 bananas
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar (or 3/4 teaspoon Stevia)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking power
1/2 teaspoon salt

Process the bananas in a blender to make a puree. Combine the banana puree, egg, sugar, and olive oil; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until moistened. Spoon the batter into muffin cups (I spray Pam into the cups to prevent the muffins from sticking). Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some Creative And Useful Tips

What to do with those old winter gloves…Make animal puppets by cutting off the fingers!

If your kids get sick of their toys, divide them into big plastic containers, and each week, bring out a different one. It’s like they are getting new toys!

Summer will be here before we know it. When you are at the beach, make sure to bring baby powder. It’s the best way to get rid of sand!
What to do with those old baby clothes hangers. Here are 4 ways to recycle them!

Make wings for dress-up:
Align two hangers hooks to form an oval and tape them together. Cut some ribbon and tie around the tiny hooks inside each hanger (this is so your child can put them around their shoulder). Than cut paper or fabric and attach to hanger.

Ribbon Organizer:
Snip off a piece of hanger right above one corner. Than just slip the ribbon spools onto the hanger, tape back together and it hang wherever you want to.

Bubble Wand:
Pour bubble solution into a nice big baking dish and have a blast!

Barrette Holder:
Tie some ribbon onto the bottom of the hanger and snap the barrettes on the ribbon.

Important Mylicon Gas Drops Recall

1 ounce bottles of Mylicon Gas Relief Dye Free Drops, sold from October 2008-November 2008 were recalled because some bottles have metal fragments, which occurred from the manufacturing process. You can call 800-222-9435 for product replacement or a refund.

For more info on product recalls visit http://

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Alyson Hannigan & Alexis Denisof Welcome Baby Girl!

It's a girl! Actress Alyson Hannigan and her husband, actor Alexis Denisof, welcomed their baby girl Satyana Denisof on March 24, 2009 in Los Angeles. This is their first child who were married in 2003. They successfully kept the baby's sex a secret during their pregnancy and are looking forward to parenthood!