Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don't Spoil the Surprise

I'm sure some moms have taken advantage of the Black Friday deals to shop for cheaper holiday gifts. And to check-off gifts on the list, I'm sure some have already wrapped the gifts right away too. But how can you protect the gifts from the probing little fingers of your children so they won't get ripped open before Christmas morning? Here are some bright ideas so not to spoil the surprise and to save you from wrapping them again.

  • You can hide the presents in a box marked "Halloween Decorations" or "Cleaning Supplies". I'm sure nobody would want to touch any of those boxes.
  • You can hide the presents inside the family luggage unless you are traveling anytime soon. Who would suspect that there's a gift inside a luggage?
  • Hide the gifts under your kid's bed. Honestly when was the last time he looked under there?


Top 4 New Year's Mom-olutions

This is one good write up I read in Parenting magazine that I want to share with all the moms. I do #1 a lot and #3 usually, but I would love to start doing #2 and #3 soon. I've been contemplating on taking photography but just don't have the time to do it. Everything else comes first before myself.

  1. Hug your husband once a day for no reason except to show him that you love him.
  2. Once a month, eat a pint of your favorite ice cream, sans a guild, because it tastes so damn good and you like it.
  3. Push your boundaries. Go up to a mom you don't know and start a conversation, try a new recipe even if you're sure your kids won't eat it, or take a photography or dance class.
  4. Write a love letter to yourself. Make a list of your talents and your achievements, both big and small so you know your worth. Because if you don't who else will?


Be Shopping Cart Smarts

Do you know that there are 23,000 children who end up in the emergency room mainly with head and neck injuries due to falls from shopping carts? This is really pretty astonishing numbers. As a mom with no other help around, my son is always with me anywhere I go. Plopping him conveniently into a shopping cart is the most practical thing to do to get the food shopping done pronto. But as my son grows, it gets more and more difficult to keep him sitting still but fortunately we haven't had any accidents yet (knock on wood).

Well since accidents happen the least you expect them, here are some tips to avoid them:
  • Choose a cart that seats a child close to the ground. - Groceries have these carts with attached cars for little kids to sit in. The cars have seat restraints to keep the children in place while the moms wheel around to shop. At Stop and Shop where I buy our food they've got those. But the first time I used it, it was a struggle to get my son out of it. He enjoyed the ride so much he didn't want to leave the car ;-).
  • Scout out stores that offer supervised play areas. - If you can't find one near you, shop with a friend who can push the stroller or hold hand with your child.
  • Get older kids out of the cart - by giving them their own grocery list. This will be fun for them and they will learn how to focus and feel responsible.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Toy Is Right For Your Child?

There are so many toys in the market today, especially now that Christmas is almost in our midst. When I go to a toy store I always have something in mind to buy for my son, usually interactive and educational toys. But when I get there, the choices are just too overwhelming. Here are some tips on what toys to look for and what kids can learn from the toys. Depending on the age of your child and the things that they can learn from a particular toy, here are some tips and guidelines you can follow in choosing a toy.

  • IT'S ALL ABOUT DISCOVERY (Birth to 1 1/2):
  1. Mobile, mirrors, soft books - kids can learn tracking object
  2. Rattles and other toys that make sound - kids can learn connecting noises to objects
  3. Stacking toys - kids can learn hand-eye coordination
  4. Pull and push toys, activity tables - kids can learn how to crawl, walk, stand

  • IT'S ALL ABOUT ACTION (1 1/2 TO 3):
  1. Ride-ons, soft balls - for gross motor skills (bigger movements like running and throwing)
  2. Clay, blocks, crayons - for fine motor skills (smaller movements like squeezing)
  3. Play kitchen and tools, puppets - kids can learn pretend play and role-playing

  1. Puzzles, board games, athletic toys - kids can learn social play, sharing (maybe grudgingly, but that's okay)
  2. Dress-up clothes and props, paint kits - Make believe and imaginative throught
  3. Instruments, building sets - Fine motor control, dexterity
  4. Sand or water toys - for different physical properties (shapes, texture, volume)

  1. Trivia, science and math kits - for improving concentration and memory
  2. Computer games, learning software - for strategic thinking
  3. Bikes, skate, scooters, jump ropes - for honing gross motor skills
  4. Musical instruments, arts and crafts - for creative problem-solving

  1. Hobby kits - for developing talents and interests
  2. Karaoke, trading cards - for socialization
  3. Knowledge-or strategy-driven board games - for playing competitively and fairly


Monday, November 17, 2008

Homemade Toys

Have you ever wonder what to do with old socks, papers and cardboards? I saw this website where you can create homemade toys out of your junks. You wouldn't believe how much worn socks I have accumulated in a laundry basket. I am not very fond of sewing the holes in socks but I also can't bring myself to throw them. If you have the same dilemma like I do, check out to get easy to follow instructions on how to make pinhole camera, sock monkey, origami crane and bath bomb out of your junks. This will not only entertain your kids, it will also save you lots of money.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Food For Happy Thoughts

I'm sure a lot of stay-at-home moms here can relate with me that each day is not always a smooth-sailing day. In fact if you have a toddler in his terrible twos, no day is smooth sailing, lol. There is always one thing or two to get frustrated about. But it shouldn't be a big deal if you are eating enough. Yes food has something to do with our daily moods.

If you are feeling cranky don't blame it on your PMS, it could be that you're not eating enough. If you are skipping meals regularly or skimping on meals, it can mean you are not getting enough serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps keep anger in check. Good thing you can eat your way to a calmer mood. Serotonin needs the amino acid tryptophan (known as turkey drug) to work, and it only comes from food.

Here are some food combos that will help boost our moods because they are packed with healthy dose of tryptophan with carbs and protein to keep you satisfied and smiling.

  • BREAKFAST: Oatmeal and eggs. Their fiber and protein give yo a long-lasting energy blast to start the day.
  • SNACK: Banana and yogurt. Perk up with yogurt's mood-lifting vitamin D bonus.
  • LUNCH: Baked potato and cheddar cheese. This duo also offers B vitamins to soothe your stress.
  • SNACK: Pistachios and prunes. Rev up with this protein-fiber powerhouse.
  • DINNER: Salmon and brown rice. The brain-boosting omega-3's and mood-stabilizing fiber help make this meal the ultimate happy fix.
  • Asparagus
  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicken
  • Lentils
  • Milk
  • Mozzarella
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Shrimp
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Tuna


Monday, November 10, 2008

Keep Your Child Healthy All Season Long

When one in our family gets sick, for sure the other two will follow. We're just living the traditional quotation that 'a family that prays together stays together' only for us it's 'the family that stays together gets sick together', lol. Kidding aside, it is really hard when one member of the family is sick most especially if it's our young children. I would rather get sick myself than see my little toddler not feeling well. But since germs is lurking around, all we can do as parents is to outsmart cold and flu bugs.

Hand washing is the number one way to fight the germs but here are more tips on how to keep the germs at bay:
  • Make bubbles - Teach kids to scrub hard enough to whip up some suds. It's the friction that really matters.
  • Sanitize smartly - I keep hand sanitizer in the diaper bag, my purse, the car, the bathrooms and my son's bedroom. You can never have enough of sanitizer but choose the ones with at least 60% alcohol to kill bugs.
  • Spot-clean - Don't look for the dirt but rather the germs. It is important to pay attention to the high-traffic areas where germs linger, like countertops, phones, and door knobs. My daily routine in the kitchen includes wiping the cupboards' handles and door knobs with disinfectant household wipes to kill the germs that accumulated during the day.
  • Wipe on - Use each wipe on only one surface, then toss it.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Snooze News

If you wake up before the alarm goes off, don't pull the pillow over your head for more shut-eye. We sleep in 90-minute cycles, from a deep sleep into a light one and back again. So if you doze off, you'll probably be jerked awake by the alarm just as you're entering deeper sleep - which translates to major crankiness.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

To Peel or Not to Peel

My son loves eating most fruits and I'm glad. He likes eating bananas, cantaloupes, honey dew, grapes, oranges, apples and more. I've seen people peeling the grapes before giving them to their kids, I don't. I usually give grapes and apples without peeling them. But which fruits and vegetables can be eaten with their peel on?

  • APPLE - Don't peel. An apple with its peel provides almost twice as much fiber, 50% more vitamin A, and 25% more potassium as one without it. Just wash the apple first.
  • CUCUMBER - Peel. Most of the cucumber's fiber comes from the seeds, and you won't lose too much potassium, either. That hard-to-wash-off waxy coating is there mainly to slow down ripening.
  • CARROT - Peel. The texture of unpeeled carrots can be a turnoff, and peeling wn't cost you much potassium, vitamin A, or fiber.
  • PEACH - Don't peel. The flesh and the skin are packed with vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. If the fuzz is adeal breaker, try nectarines, which have the same nutrients and fiber.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Get Moving Tricks

Sometimes getting ready to go out of the house is a struggle when you have an unpredictable toddler. Like when we're running late already for an appointment and my son won't cooperate to have his shoes on or his jacket on, it's really frustrating. Here are some tips or tricks to get your child moving.

If your child is :
  • CRANKY try:
  1. Taking a deep breath yourself. The more frustrated you are, the crankier he'll be.
  2. Singing a silly song while you put on his clothes.
  • ANTSY try:
  1. Making a game out of getting ready. Create a chart with morning tasks down the side and days across the top. Add a sticker as he finishes each chore.
  2. Challenging him to a race. Set a kitchen timer and see if he can get dressed and washed up before the buzzer goes off.
  • SLUGGISH try:
  1. Giving him a small glass of 100% juice. His blood sugar is probably low after a night of sleep.
  2. Putting on some upbeat music and dancing your way through morning chores.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

When my son was less than two years old, he used to take two naps of two hours each during the day. And when he turned two he just takes an afternoon nap for at least two hours. I always make it a point that he never misses a nap otherwise he will get restless at night. And also because sleep helps in a child's growth, I am really strict about nap schedule. But of course there are days when my son will miss his nap especially when I have to take him to my appointments or errands, but I will just make sure he won't miss it two days in a row.

If you are worried that your child is not getting enough sleep, sometimes it may not be a big deal. Some kids are simply natural short sleepers and it doesn't have a negative effect on their health or growth. But just be on the lookout for these signs of sleep deprivation - crankiness, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention, a reluctance to wake up in the morning, a tendency to fall asleep during daily activities, or a habit of sleeping two to three extra hours on weekends. If you see any of these symptoms on your child, you should help him get more sleep by limiting caffeine and exercise a few hours before bedtime, keeping TV and computer out of the bedroom, and sticking to a regular sleep and wake routine.

How much sleep most kids need:
  • Birth to 2 months -- 10 1/2 to 18 hours
  • 2 to 12 months -- 14 to 15 hours
  • 1 to 3 years -- 12 to 14 hours
  • 3 to 5 years -- 11 to 13 hours
  • 5 to 12 years -- 10 to 11 hours


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Making Spelling Fun

I was watching Akeelah and the Bee the other night, and I was amazed at how young brains can memorize and master huge numbers of words, much less go through the high intensity of spelling bee contest. I know it can be challenging to teach our kids how to spell and retain words, but it's always good to start them young. Practicing weekly word lists can get dull fast. Here are some tips on how to help your child to master the words.
  • Tell him to eat his words. Let him spell them out with macaroni, chocolate, or Goldfish crackers and then eat them. If it's not snack time yet, then you can give him straws, pennies, or paper clips to use instead.
  • Draw word rainbows. Write the word in pencil, then trace over it with different-color markers, water paints, pencils, or crayons.
  • Practice somewhere new. Use magnetic letters on the fridge, or scribble words with chalk in the driveway or shaving cream in the shower or tub.