Archive for February, 2009

baby-medicineNewborns obviously cannot swallow pills and capsules. This means that they use liquid medicines.

A study just published has revealed that newborns who are given liquid medications may be exposed to dangerous toxins that are added to the medicine to improve the effectiveness, taste and appearance. In addition, these babies may even be consuming more than the recommended adult guidelines!

For the study the records of 38 premature babies were examined. The newborns had been born at or before 30 weeks gestation. The researchers analyzed the type and ingredients of liquid medicines these babies had been given.

The study found that the babies suffered regular exposure to 20 different types of chemicals. Many of these chemicals are called “excipients.” Excipients are put into medicines to improve the taste and look of the medicines. They include binders, coatings, disintegrants, fillers, flavors, colors, lubricants, preservatives, sorbents and sweeteners. These substances can potentially damage the nerves.

Ethanol exposure was found to range from 0.2 to 1.8 ml each week – that equates to about 1 to 7 units of alcohol. Sorbitol exposure ranged from 0.1 to 3.5g per kg per week. Adults guidelines recommend that sorbitol intake should not exceed 20g per day. When reduced accordingly by weight, it was found that 18 babies were ingesting more than this amount for at least a week.

This study documents a huge problem. Medicines being given to babies may lead to them being exposed to harmful chemicals with short and long-term toxic effects being unknown.

Parents and consumers need to be informed and educated about these potential health issues for their children so that they can make informed decisions about how they care for their children and take the precautions they feel are necessary.

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Lately, I’ve been having a string of days filled with a terrible two’s attitude and a clingy baby and nights filled with fussing and wakefulness.  I wake up feeling just as exhausted as I was when I went to bed.  So “burnout” is putting it mildly for me right now!

Here are some of the best strategies for avoiding burnout, or at least preventing it from getting too out-of-hand.

  1. Take care of yourself.  It’s really hard to take care of other people when you haven’t been taking care of yourself as well as you should.  This includes getting enough sleep, eating well and getting exercise.  I will be the first one to admit that I fall miserably short in most of these areas quite a bit of the time.  But when I’m focusing on these things, I feel so much better and it’s much easier to face the day and everything I need t0 do.
  2. Take time for yourself.  Motherhood is a very selfless lifestyle.  The kids’ needs always need to be prioritized.  But when you get a break (nap time or bedtime), make sure to take a few minutes to do something you enjoy doing.  Lately, I’ve been reading for a little bit every night before I go to bed.  After spending all day doing the things I have to do, it’s amazing what just 10 minutes (because that’s about all I have before I’m too tired to keep my eyes open anymore) spent on myself can do for my attitude!  I also make sure I take a shower every day after the kids go to bed.  I do it at night so that I don’t have little people whining or popping their heads in the shower every couple minutes.  That is MY time and everyone knows it!
  3. Make a Ta-Da list when you’re feeling especially overwhelmed.  This is a concept I got from Flylady awhile back.  Basically, you make a list of everything that you accomplished that day.  Just today, I was telling Chad that I got nothing done all day.  Then I realized that wasn’t true.  I took the kids to get their pictures done, I washed diaper covers, I washed diapers, I finally found all 40 cupcakes (don’t ask) and the list goes on.  But because those things weren’t things on my to do list, I don’t feel like I accomplished anything.  Now, if I’d gotten our hall closet organized like I’ve been wanting to do for weeks, I would have been all excited because I’d “gotten something done”!  A Ta-Da list can help shift your thinking and keep you from getting discouraged because you’re “getting nothing done”.
  4. Find a good balance between getting out of the house and staying at home.  Most people will tell you to get out of the house to avoid burnout.  But if I’m running around every day, everything at home starts to suffer and I end up feeling overwhelmed and burned out.  But if I stay home every day and never get any social interaction, I end up feeling lonely an isolated.  That’s why it’s important to find a balance between the two.  For me, I have one errand-running day, one day at church and I try to get the kids to 2 playgroup a week.  This leaves 3 days for us to stay at home all day (plus, we’re not gone all day on the days we do go out).  This works really well for me at this time in our life.
  5. Take a vacation day!  Obviously, moms don’t get a vacation, at least not when their kids are really small.  But every once in awhile, I have to have a day where I don’t do anything except the bare minimum.  I still change diapers and feed kids, of course, but everything else gets scaled back.  We stay in our pajamas, get a casserole out of the freezer for dinner, and just hang out and play and read books and watch Sesame Street together.  Believe me, it works!
  6. Above all else, remember that this too shall pass….and someday we’re going to look back and miss it.  Try to enjoy the little things!

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I don’t, by any means, consider myself an expert at shopping with small children. In fact, I dread our weekly shopping trips and breathe a huge sigh of relief once they’re over.

I do have a few helpful tips that I’ve found helpful over the last couple of years.

  1. Don’t shop when you or the kids are hungry!  Shopping with hungry kids is an even bigger no-no than shopping when you are hungry.  I always make sure I’ve just nursed Kelvin before we leave and I bring several snacks and a sippy cup for Ava.
  2. Don’t shop when the kids are tired.  We usually go right after we get dressed in the morning or right after nap time.
  3. If you have a baby, get a baby carrier!  My Peanut Shell is even more of a life-saver while shopping than it is when we’re at home (and that’s saying something)!  It’s especially helpful when I’m shopping by myself with the kids because if I have the car seat on top of the cart and Ava in the basket part, where am I supposed to put the groceries?
  4. If at all possible, shop with another adult.  Right after Kelvin was born, I tried shopping by myself with both kids one time and it was not pleasant.  Now I arrange our shopping trips so that we can do them as a family.  Chad basically tries to keep the kids happy so that I can focus on getting the shopping done as quickly as possible before meltdowns occur.  It works for us!
  5. Try not to plan too many stops on one day.  In order to take advantage of sales, there are usually several stores I want to stop at, but I try to limit it to 4 at the very most (I don’t need much from some of the stores, so we can be in and out very quickly).  If I have more stops than that, we divide it into two days.  While I don’t want to be out shopping more than a few days a week, I also know that the kids can’t handle marathon shopping trips all on one day.
  6. Once you’re home again, put off putting the food away.  After a couple of hours spent shopping, both kids usually need diaper changes and feedings.  So I throw the entire bag(s) of cold stuff in the fridge and leave everything else until after I’ve had time to take care of the kids.  Doing it any other way just results in everyone being really stressed out!

That’s all I’ve got for now!  We’re off to do our weekly shopping right now…wish us luck!!

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The last few days at playgroup, they’ve had a WaterWheel Play Table set up for the kids to play at. Ava has a BLAST with it! Her shirt has been sopping wet every day when she’s done, but she really loves scooping and pouring and everything. It’s like a playing in the bath, but not being in the tub, so why wouldn’t she love it?

I’m thinking about getting one of these this summer. I’m definitely waiting for summer, though because there’s no way I can have one of those things in my house. You would have to commit me…I just couldn’t handle water all over the place all the time! No way. But if we wait for summer, we can have it out on the porch and she can make as big of a mess as she wants and I won’t care!

Does anyone else have a water table? Do you have a specific one you’d recommend?

I think we’re well on our way to breaking Ava’s bottle habit. Yes, I know she’s almost two and she still has a bottle before she goes to bed. Don’t judge me.

The key to almost-getting-rid of it was to replace it with something else in her bedtime routine. I decided to replace it with reading stories in her crib before she goes to sleep. As you can see, Kelvin likes getting in on reading time, too (and no, he does not sleep in there with her)! They’re so cute in there together. Kelvin always scoots as close to her as he can (and sometimes pulls her hair LOL).

By the way, “almost-getting-rid of it” means that she still has a small one, but she has it while she has her diaper changed and then we go and brush her teeth before she gets in bed. By removing it from her immediately-before-bed routine, I’m hoping it will be easier to completely cut it out in the next few weeks.

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We’ve had a very rough weekend at our house and it’s continuing this week now that I’m sick. I didn’t want to neglect our little blog now that we’re whipping it back into shape, though! I have several post ideas, but I get exhausted just thinking about writing them now.

So instead, I’m going to share a very helpful website with you, Wholesome Toddler Food. I’ve done tons of research on feeding toddlers because Ava tends to be a very picky eater, but this one is the best one I’ve found…hands down! It has meal ideas, menus, recipes, and tips for feeding the picky eater. Honestly, this site has been my bible for feeding Ava for the past year. I hope it helps someone else as much as it has helped me!

teach-your-child-to-read-in-100-easy-lessonsI have a confession to make.  Teaching the little ones the fundamentals is not my most favorite part of homeschooling.  I used to feel VERY guilty about this…because, afterall…if I don’t enjoy laying these fundamental building blocks in my children’s education what kind of message am I sending to them?  What kind of learning experience am I providing them with?

I think it’s very important to not only teach these fundamentals to children…but I also think it’s even more important for them to discover that learning is FUN and ENJOYABLE!

We finally managed to figure this out in my house with the discovery of one very simple, yet very important program. It’s not fancy and it is not expensive. In fact, it is one basic soft-cover book…yet when I purchased Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons when Ruthie was learning how to read a couple of years ago, our reading lessons MAGICALLY went from tears and frustration to fun and MORE FUN!

The lessons are only about 20 minutes long and you even get a SCRIPT to read, moms! Yeah! It doesn’t get much easier than that! Ruthie immediately responded positively to the lessons and began making measurable progress right away. We switched to this curriculum somewhere around November-December of her 1st grade year and we stuck with it in place of the regular Reading/Language Arts lessons that are part of our 1st grade curriculum. We continued with her other first grade subjects as usual.

Anyway, Ruthie was then newly six (September birthday) so I would consider a little on the young side for first grade…but we kept at it and she was able to go on to 2nd grade the next fall and she fell right into step with our regular 2nd grade curriculum at that point.

The bottom line…Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is just what any parent who struggles with some of this fundamental teaching needs. It’s created for children ages 4-6 and we’ve tested this as well because four-year-old Abby is using it now with similar success.

Check this out…I’d love to hear other suggestions for what you loved for this age, too, if you have them!


I’m sure every parent feels like they need 8 hands in order to get anything done! In fact, I’ve heard someone say that evolution can’t possibly be true because if it was, mothers would have more than two hands. Amen to that!

Seriously, the Peanut Shell is the best money I ever spent! The one in these pictures is the Peanut Shell Sling - Chocolate. It wasn’t as necessary when I only had one child because I could still get things done during her naptime. But we all know that when you have more than one child, they never sleep at the same time. Ever. Add to that having the second child wanting to be held all the time and you have a recipe for a condemned house and crazy mommy!

Not only does the Peanut Shell help me get things done, but it’s a very important component of attachment parenting, which I believe in 100%! There are so many benefits that come from babywearing, including more secure baby-parent bonding, happier babies (honestly, Kelvin cries when I take him out of it), happier parents, less risk of a “flat head” and earlier independence (a securely attached child is more confident, allowing them to become independent sooner).

And on top of all that, isn’t he adorable in it?

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