Saturday, October 30, 2010

Healthy Halloween Treats

Whether you are having an all out Halloween bash, or just want something a little extra-special to make for Halloween, these two treats will definitely be a hit with both kids and parents. We all know that there is never a shortage of sugar around Halloween which is what makes these treats so great - they're both healthy and fun!

To make the spider you will need: whole wheat Ritz crackers, pretzels, peanut butter and raisins.  Break pretzel sticks in half and then cover one Ritz cracker with peanut butter.  Add on 8 pretzel halves and then cover with another Ritz cracker.  Add a small amount of peanut butter to the edge of the top cracker and place two raisins there for eyes.  Then you have your spider treat!

 This recipe was found at: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/pretzel-spiders-675732/

Another fun treat is to make String Cheese fingers.  You will need: string cheese, cream cheese and a bell pepper.  Cut the string cheese in half and then use a knife to make small ridges where the knuckles would be.  Cut the bell pepper into small squares to be used for the nail and apply to the string cheese with a dot of cream cheese and you're done!
This recipe was found at: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/cheese-finger-food-685121/ 

Have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sleep Needs by Age

You know how critical good sleep is for your child, but just how much sleep does your little one need? Keep in mind that children's sleep needs vary based on age as well as based on the individual needs of your child. Here are some basic guidelines based on age. 

Birth - 6 months: Young babies need about 16-20 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. 
Nighttime sleep for babies this age is generally 10-12 hours in length. 
Daytime sleep is usually 3-5 hours in length, usually split up between 2 to 3 naps.

6 - 12 Months: Nighttime sleep at this age is usually around 11 hours. 
Daytime sleep often totals between 3-4 hours and is split between 2 naps. 

Toddlers (1-3 Years): Toddlers need 10-13 total hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. 
Toddlers usually take one nap a day, in the afternoon, ranging between 1-3 hours in length.

Preschoolers (3-5 Years): 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep and one afternoon nap, which is usually dropped by age 5. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Throw a Halloween party...for your own kids!

This year, why don't you do something a little different, instead of just trick-or-treating, throw your own children a Halloween party right in comfort of your home.  A few ideas that you could do would be:

  • Instead of bobbing for large apples or dipping a whole apple in carmel, cut an apple into slices.  Have a bowl with carmel, and then a couple other bowls with your kids favorite small, chewable candy.  They can dip their apple slices in each one!
  • We all love the donuts on a string.  Since your little tikes have little mouths, try using Hostess donuts on a string more at their level.  Explain that they have to keep their hands behind their back and try to get the donut with their mouth.  What kid wouldn't try hard to get that donut?!
  • Have your kids all get into their Halloween costumes.  If you have more than one child, have them do a fashion show for you and any other adults in the home.  If there is only one child, maybe doing a cute little photo shoot would be fun for them.  
  • Halloween is a time of treats!  So bake a batch of sugar cookies (in Halloween shapes) and supply orange, black and purple icing, along with different sprinkles..  Have each child decorate their own cookie.  Make sure you take a picture with your child and their cookie.  Then let them eat it!  I'm sure they'll want to make more than one ;)
  •  If your children are a bit older, you may want to help them carve a pumpkin.  Before the party, take them to a pumpkin patch and let them pick out their very own!  Then during your party, help them to carve their favorite character's face or their name into the pumpkin!
  • Provide each child with a blank sheet of paper and crayons.  On a child-proof table, let them draw a pumpkin or some other kind of Halloween related picture.  Praise your children on their artistic ability and hang their pictures up around the house.  They will be so proud of their work and this will help them gain confidence in themselves.  
  • Don't worry about spending a lot of money on this event.  Check out your local dollar store or drug store for affordable, festive plates, napkins, silverware, and other items you may need for the party.  
  • Hang streamers from the ceilings or stream them around the wall, maybe have cut-out pumpkins leading from their bedrooms to where the party will be held.  Get creative!!
Putting a Halloween party on for your kids is a great way for them to be creative, show off their talents, and have fun in a safe, comfortable setting.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Make Your Own Halloween Lanterns

Here is a really fun, festive craft you can do with your children! These Halloween lanterns are easy to create and make great decorations. All you need are the following items...

Some jars (Mason jars, spaghetti sauce jars...any jars will do!)
Tissue Paper
Mod Podge (available at craft stores)
Paint brush
Black paper

You can either start by covering your jar with Mod Podge (including the bottom of the jar) and then wrapping the tissue paper around the jar, or you can cut the tissue paper into strips and place Mod Podge and the strips on one at a time. After your tissue paper is on the jar, brush some more Mod Podge over the top of it to seal it.
 Let your jar(s) dry and cut out some fun faces out of the black paper. Once the jars are dry you can use use the glue to stick the faces on. Here is a link to some items you can use as a guideline for the faces: Monster Face Cut-Outs

You can attach a piece of ribbon to the rim of the jar, place a tea light inside and you have completed your lantern!

Happy Halloween and enjoy!

Much of this post--including the pictures--came from this website, a blog I would highly recommend:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DIY: Baby Mobile

When infants reach about three months old, they are becoming more active.  A good toy or activity for this age group are mobiles.  Here is a step-by-step to make your very own baby mobile.

Step 1:  Purchase PVC pipes and have them cut at your local hardware store (i.e. Lowe's, Home Depot).  This is a very inexpensive purchase; much less than buying a pre-made mobile from a toy store.  The pipes need to be the following lengths:
4- 6"
1- 18"

Step 2:  Purchase the joints that will attach all the pipes together.  The joints need to be the following:
2- T's
2- elbows
4- caps

Step 3: Place the caps on all four of the 6" pipes, then attach the other end of the 6" pipes into a "T" joint. 

Step 4:  Place the two elbow joints on one end of the 16" pipes.  Connect each of the other end of the 16" pipe into the opening of the "T."

Step 5: Connect the mobile together with the last 18" pipe by placing in in each end of the elbow joints (that are connected to the 16" pipes).

Attach items to the 18" pipe of the mobile (the top) that hang down.  Some examples could be a mirror, pictures of family members, bright colored cardstock, etc.  This mobile will help with visual stimulation, promotes gross motor development, and play time.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Benefits of Breastfeeding

So many new mothers do not fully realize the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, and that breastfeeding can benefit the mother as well as the baby!

Breastfeeding Protects Babies

  1. Early breast milk is liquid gold – Known as liquid gold, colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) is the thick yellow first breast milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount his or her tiny stomach can hold. (Visit How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk to see just how small your newborn’s tummy is!)
  2. Your breast milk changes as your baby grows – Colostrum changes into what is called mature milk. By the third to fifth day after birth, this mature breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It is a thinner type of milk than colostrum, but it provides all of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs.
  3. Breast milk is easier to digest – For most babies — especially premature babies — breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them.
  4. Breast milk fights disease – The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique; formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human breast milk. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula-fed babies also have higher risks of:
    • Necrotizing (nek-roh-TEYE-zing) enterocolitis (en-TUR-oh-coh-lyt-iss), a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants.
    • Lower respiratory infections
    • Atopic dermatitis, a type of skin rash
    • Asthma
    • Obesity
    • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
    • Childhood leukemia

Breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Mothers Benefit From Breastfeeding

  1. Life can be easier when you breastfeed – Breastfeeding may take a little more effort than formula feeding at first. But it can make life easier once you and your baby settle into a good routine. Plus, when you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure, and mix formula. And there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night! You can satisfy your baby’s hunger right away when breastfeeding.
  2. Breastfeeding can save money – Formula and feeding supplies can cost well over $1,500 each year, depending on how much your baby eats. Breastfed babies are also sick less often, which can lower health care costs.
  3. Breastfeeding can feel great – Physical contact is important to newborns. It can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness, as well. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time to bond. The skin-to-skin contact can boost the mother’s oxytocin (OKS-ee-TOH-suhn) levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps milk flow and can calm the mother.
  4. Breastfeeding can be good for the mother’s health, too – Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health problems in women:
    1. Type 2 diabetes
    2. Breast cancer
    3. Ovarian cancer
    4. Postpartum depression

Experts are still looking at the effects of breastfeeding on osteoporosis and weight loss after birth. Many studies have reported greater weight loss for breastfeeding mothers than for those who don’t. But more research is needed to understand if a strong link exists.
  1. Mothers miss less work – Breastfeeding mothers miss fewer days from work because their infants are sick less often.
 Some other ways that breastfeeding can benefit the mother are:
-Breastfeeding can burn several hundred calories a day! Depending on how often you breastfeed, you can burn up to 500 calories a day, which will help you shed those pregnancy pound easier.
- Faster return of the uterus to its pre-pregnancy state
-Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers
-Protection against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life
…..So overall Breastfeeding will help your health greatly, as well as your babies!

Breastfeeding Benefits Society
The nation benefits overall when mothers breastfeed. Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. The United States would also save $13 billion per year — medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
Breastfeeding also contributes to a more productive workforce since mothers miss less work to care for sick infants. Employer medical costs are also lower.
Breastfeeding is also better for the environment. There is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Breastfeeding During an Emergency

When an emergency occurs, breastfeeding can save lives:
  • Breastfeeding protects babies from the risks of a contaminated water supply.
  • Breastfeeding can help protect against respiratory illnesses and diarrhea. These diseases can be fatal in populations displaced by disaster.
  • Breast milk is the right temperature for babies and helps to prevent hypothermia, when the body temperature drops too low.
  • Breast milk is readily available without needing other supplies.
It can be very difficult, especially now with so many families relying on two incomes, for mothers to continue breastfeeding past maternity leave. But remember that even a few weeks or months of breastfeeding are invaluable to you and your baby, and pumping is definitely something to consider. Pumping can increase your milk supply, and allow you to be away from your baby in between feedings.
Your Baby is worth it!!!

Taken in part from: 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sensory Play Made Easy

Children gather information primarily through their five senses. A wonderful way to help your child learn is by providing them with opportunities for hands-on-learning. You don’t have to purchase an expensive sensory table to accomplish this. Here are some fun and inexpensive ways to expose your child to different textures and mediums.

Water Sensory: During bath time, allow your child time to play with bath toys or household items such as cups and mixing spoons. Use descriptive words to talk about the properties of water such as wet, warm, cold, slippery and so on. Play a game where you show your child an object and ask them if they think it will float or sink.  Then place the object in the water and talk about the result.

You can also expose your child to water sensory experiences by allowing them to help you rinse and wash dishes, bathe the family pet and water plants or your yard.  When the weather is appropriate your child can splash in puddles, play in the rain, swim in a pool or run through the sprinklers. 

Play dough: Children often enjoy the squishy, moldable qualities of play dough. Provide your child with cookie cutters, rolling pins or other safe kitchen items to use.

Finger Paint: Provide your child with non-toxic finger paint and a smock or old shirt to protect their clothing. Allow them to paint paper or cardboard items such as empty cereal boxes and paper towel rolls.

Sand: You can use a shallow storage bin filled with sand as a small sand box. You can also use the lid to cover the sand and protect it from stray pets and rain. Provide a variety of cups, spoons or shovels for your child to dig and pour with.

Dirt: Plant a garden with your young child. If you don’t have the space for a garden, you can plant a potted flower or herbs.

Shaving Cream or Whipped Cream: Lay wax paper on your table and dress your child in a smock or oversized shirt. Use shaving cream only if your child
understands that it is not edible. Allow your child to squish the cream in their hands and draw pictures in it with their fingers.

Make your own sensory table: You may have seen the sensory tables provided in many preschools and daycares. Such tables are convenient, but they can be very expensive. You can provide your child with the same experience by using a much less expensive storage bin. The variety designed for use under a bed are often shallow and long, perfect for use as a sensory table. Place a waterproof table cloth or a sheet under the bin to protect your floor and provide easy cleanup. You can then fill this with any of the following items;
- Dry rice or dry beans and cups, bowls, spoons, etc.
- Scrap paper and magazines with child-safe scissors for cutting   practice.
- Sand, water or any of the other items mentioned previously.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tummy Time

Tummy time is very important for babies so they can develop the strength that they need. 

What if my baby does not seem to like being on his tummy? Even though some babies do not seem to like this position, it is important for them to have their tummy time so they can practice lifting their head. If you place your baby on his tummy a couple times a day for short periods of time, he will eventually learn to enjoy the position!

Tummy Time Central is a great website with very useful information about tummy time. Questions like, "How much tummy time is necessary?" "When should babies start?" and "What activities are best?" are all answered here.

Here are just three of the five tummy time "moves" from this website: Tummy Time Moves

Try them out! 

Tummy to Tummy: Lie down on your back and place your baby on your tummy or chest so that you are  face-to-face.
Tummy Minute: Every time you change your baby's diaper, place him on his tummy for one to two minutes.
Tummy-Down Carry: Slide one hand under the tummy and between the legs of your baby while you carry him tummy down.

Pictures of these moves (and more!) can be found at the Essential Tummy Time Moves website

Enjoy tummy time with your baby!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Home-made Halloween Costumes

Whether it's your baby's first Halloween or they have had a couple, make sure to dress them in a great costume...THAT YOU HAVE MADE!

Here is a great website that shows step-by-step, how to make the costume of choice for your child. 


Monday, October 4, 2010

Baby Safety Gates

Once your baby starts to become mobile, there suddenly is an urgent need to “baby-proof” all areas of the home baby can now access. One tool several mothers choose to employ in their baby-proofing efforts is a baby safety gate. These gates are especially useful if you have stairs, certain rooms or hallways you do not want baby crawling in, or if you have a fireplace. There are many different kinds of gates available to be purchased, ranging greatly in function, quality, and cost. One website to visit when you are thinking about purchasing a baby gate is http://www.babycenter.com/0_safety-gates_441.bc. Here you can find great questions to ask yourself about a gate you are considering in order to make sure it is safe and suits your needs. Here are some of the main questions to consider when purchasing a gate according to this article: 

1.       Was the gate made after 1985? Most gates made from this time are not available to purchase anymore, but if you are shopping secondhand, you may encounter an expandable accordion-style gate that was probably made before 1985. These gates are hazardous and dangerous for your baby, so just say no to these.

2.       How far apart are the slats? If there are vertical slats incorporated into the gate, make sure the space between each one is not more than 2 3/8 inches. If the space is larger than this, it is not safe for your baby.

3.       Is the gate safety-certified? The gate should have a “ASTM/JPMA” certification seal on the packaging. If it does not have this seal, than the gate is not guaranteed to comply with voluntary safety standards

Although they are more expensive than their pressure-mounted counterparts, hardware-mounted gates are safer since the pressure-mounted gates can be knocked out of their place pretty easily.
Feel free to look at that website for more guidelines for baby safety gate purchasing! 

Although it does not say if the gate is ASTM/JPMA certified, this is a stairway gate I found that is reasonably priced, has over 100 great reviews, and fits the criteria listed on the website: http://www.walmart.com/ip/North-State-Plastic-Stairway-Gate/4380096

Happy shopping!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Should My Baby Get a Flu Shot?

It’s that time again, when the holidays are approaching and the weather gets chillier. We all worry about that three-letter word…the FLU! In a recent article on Parenting.com (http://www.parenting.com/article/Baby/Health/On-Call-Flu-Shot-Safety), Dr. Claire McCarthy answers a parents question about their infant receiving the flu shot.

Q. My pediatrician says flu shots are safe for babies, but I've read otherwise. Would you give one to yours?

A. Absolutely. Influenza can be a serious illness, especially for infants -- which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control recommend that all children under age 2 be immunized as early as possible each flu season (roughly September to March).

Make sure this year that your baby is prepared for the cold weather. Here is a list of locations that offer the flu shot:

Intermountain North Valley Pediatrics 212 S. 1100 E., American Fork

Intermountain Highland Health Center 10968 North Alpine Highway, Highland

Deseret First Credit Union 337 N. State St., Orem

Intermountain North Canyon Family Practice 3200 North Canyon Road Suite D, Provo

Utah County Health Department 151 S University Ave #1900, Provo

Salem City Center 30 West 100 South, Salem

Intermountain Springville Health Center 762 West 400 South, Springville

Drugstores you can also go to are:

Target $24

Walgreens $24.99

CVS $20-$25