Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

It's snowing this morning and Christmas is right around the corner.  Are you ready? 
Perhaps somebody is feeling how I am.  I've found myself struggling to get into the Christmas spirit. This year is different for me, I'm newly married and we will be staying home this year instead of visiting family due to work schedules.  So trying to make the best of my situation, I've tried doing some fun Christmas things at home, decorating our little home, and working on Christmas gifts for my husband.  I've attended a Christmas concert and drank lots of hot coco.  But alas, my little Christmas heart just hasn't gotten the holiday spirit memo.  Instead, I find myself just going through the motions and even being a little depressed about the whole holiday season.

So I asked myself, "What makes Christmas for you? What does Christmas really mean?"
I've truly found myself having to define what the holiday means to me personally.  Before now, I participated in holiday events my parents planned, but now I am the one in charge of any holiday traditions...and I don't know what to do.  I've explored the religious aspect, googled "Christmas traditions", and tried to pin down exactly what the "Christmas Spirit" meant.  

I've come to realize that Christmas isn't necessarily about the gifts given or received.  It's not about the lights or the holiday food.  It's about being happy.  It's about family and loved ones.  A wise friend told me yesterday, "Christmas is about children, it's about helping them see the magic and then basking in their complete delight." I believe that!

For those of you you who do have children, spend just a few minutes today enjoying the excitement that radiates from your cute little ones.  Make sure to squeeze them extra long and give them lots of loves.  For those of you who don't have children yet, enjoy the love around you.  Whether that is your parents, siblings, husbands, aunts, cousin's, best friends, grandparents or neighbors, make sure to enjoy every minute.  

So to answer my question, I suppose I am ready for Christmas.  I'm ready to love those around me and enjoy the love the holiday season brings.

The Welcome Baby team wishes you a very Merry Christmas!  We'll be back to blogging in January, a new year and new interns.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Traditions

You probably don't remember what presents you got for Christmas but you probably remember the Christmas traditions you did as a family and how they brought you closer together as a family. Your children will look forward to their favorite traditions each year. Continue your traditions and add a few this holiday season.   


  • Decorate the Christmas Tree Together
  • Have a family Christmas music sing-a-long
  • Make homemade Christmas Cards
  • On Christmas Eve, have a camp-out in the same room
  • Read a Christmas Story Together
  • String popcorn and Cranberries for the Christmas Tree
  • Make a special meal every year
  • Make Christmas cookies together and deliver them to neighbor
  • Make a calendar to countdown the days until Christmas
  • Teach your children Christmas songs.  Go caroling in your neighborhood or at care centers
  • Draw names and give a secret service to a family memeber
  • Put on a play with your family members using your favorite Christmas story
  • Go for a drive in the mountains and see the snow
  • Have a friend take a picture of your whole family by the Christmas tree or take your child to have her picture taken with Santa--you'll be creating a wonderful pictorial family history
  • Make a gingerbread house.  Graham crackers make a great substitute for the walls
  • Make or choose ornaments with meaning 
  • Make construction paper chains
  • Have a potluck dinner with extended family
  • Watch Christmas videos or television specials
  • Pop popcorn.  Drink cocoa. Bundle up together
  • Serve your family's favorite breakfast for Christmas morning 
  • Write a personalized letter to each of your children that they can cherish for years to come.  You can sign it from Santa, if you like.
  • Tell your children a story about your favorite childhood Christmas
  • Ring a bell outside your children's bedroom window on Christmas Eve so they will think it is Santa Claus
  • Take the family on a winter wonderland walk in the snow
  • Have a sledding party, roast marshmallows and take along some pre-made hot chocolate to drink

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Visitor For Bear By: Bonny Becker

Bear wanted to be alone so he could do what he wanted, how he wanted and where he wanted.  A persistent and clever mouse had something else in mind.  Bear found that everything was more fun and special when shared with a friend.  This is a wonderful book about the importance of friendships and how sometimes our friends and loved ones know what we need better then we do.  Teach your children about helping others by visiting a friend or neighbor that lives alone this Holiday Season.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight

Our wonderful Welcome Baby volunteers never cease to amaze us!  We have wonderful people volunteer their time, expertise, and love to so many families in Utah County.  The more I work with our volunteers, the more I am impressed with their abilities. I really feel so lucky to have such a great team!

I know I've said this before, but our program WOULD NOT run without our volunteers.  They are the ones who visit our families, report back to us concerns, and support the individual families.  It's easy to get focused on numbers and office tasks, but when you stop and think about the combine hours these volunteers contribute to our program, it is overwhelming.

Recently, the Volunteer Recognition Program provided by the Utah Commission of Volunteers contacted us asking for a nomination of one of our great volunteers.  It was a difficult decision, but we nominated Tedi Palmer for her outstanding service to our community.

Tedi has been volunteering with us for over a year and does a wonderful job with our long term families. She is aware of each families needs, visits them monthly, and is so good to send volunteer reports.  Above all, she is so great to work with and truly has a love for helping families.

Thank you Tedi, we are so grateful for her help and support!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please email us at baby1@unitedwayuc.org

Friday, December 2, 2011

Did you know?

Did you know that vitamin A is important for your babies vision development and helps promote healthy cells, tissue and organs such as eyes, lungs, urinary and intestinal track as well as immune system?  Vitamin A is found in liver, whole milk, egg yolk, fortified dairy products as well as richly colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangos, spinach, sweet peppers and papaya.

Find other helpful tips and guidelines at www.earthsbest.com 

*Information found here

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Activities

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family members.  Here are some Holiday Community Events happening in Utah County to continue the family fun.

Lights on Parade

Date: Saturday, December 3rd

Location: Provo Center Street through 500 W

Time: Parade starts at 5:30 p.m.; lights-On at 6:30 pm

*everyone is invited to gather in front of the City Center and celebrate with us as Santa turns on the Christmas lights of the City in Downtown Provo and kick-off the month-long holiday celebration!
Countdown 2012
Date: New Years
Location: Provo Towne Centre Mall
Admissions: Purchase your Countdown Admission Wristband at the Winger's in the Provo Towne Centre Mall or at the Provo City Parks and Recreation Office at 351 W. Center Street, after December 4.

Pre-purchased Wristband

•$3 Children 12 and under

•$4 Adults 13 and over
•3 and under are free with a paid adult

•Wristbands purchased the day of the event are an additional $1 each per person

Timpanogos Chorale Concert

Date: Monday, December 12, 2011

Time: 7:30-9:00

Location: American Fork Junior High NEW Auditorium 

Price: $6.00 per person or $20.00 for immediate family.

Ice Skating

Date: December 3

Event Hours: 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Admission: $2.00 per person or $1.00 with canned food donation

Location: Utah Olympic Oval, 5662 South 4800 West (Cougar Lane), Kearns

Candlelight Christmas

Date: Nov 25 - Dec 03

Description: Santa Clause and his reindeers are coming to visit.  Enjoy a live Nativity scene and Carolers in this beautiful aroma of Christmas.  Make homemade gifts in historic pioneer cabins.
Phone: 801-582-1847

Time: 6 pm - 9 pm (Mon-Thur), 6 pm - 10 pm (Fri-Sat)

Price: $10/adults, $7/seniors, $7/children (3-11), Free/children (2 and under)

Location: This Is The Place Heritage Park, 2601 E. Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City

Web Site: www.thisistheplace.org

American Fork Winter Story Time

Date- Registration: Dec 27- Jan 7
            Stories and Activities begin Jan 9
When: once a week
Where: American Fork Library

Mitten Tree (Library Events Calendar)

Date: Nov 29-Dec 21

Location: American Fork Library

Description: Come decorate the Library's Mitten tree. Donate mittens, scarves, gloves and hats to decorate the tree in the Library rotunda. Decorating welcome through December 20th. Items donated will be given to local shelters. .

Warm Hearts = Warm Hands

Trees of Diversity exhibit

Date: Nov 17 - Dec 27
Time: Mon -Thurs, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Fri - Sat, by arrangement. Closed Sundays and Holidays

Location: Utah Cultural Celebration Center -1355 West 3100 South West Valley City, UT 84119

Price: Free

Description: The Trees of Diversity exhibit showcases not only decorated trees, but also gingerbread houses, wreaths, nativities and window shopping style holiday scenes. Enjoy over 25 trees decorated from different ethnic arts groups from throughout the valley. Refreshments and music will also be provided.

For more information about this and other events or exhibits at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, call 801-965-5100 801-965-5100 , or visit culturalcelebration.org

The Grouch Who Stole Christmas

Date: Nov 25 - Dec 30

Phone: 801-355-4628 801-355-4628

Location: Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City

Web Site: theobt.org/obtseason.html

Description: This original comedy parodies the famed Dr. Seuss Novel, and couples it with the beloved Sesame Street Character who lives in a garbage can. This light hearted comedy shows how even the grouchiest of characters can find love and kindness during the most wonderful time of the year. -Brought to you by the letter C and the number 2.

Price: Adults= $11, Students/Seniors/Military = $9, Children (12 & under) = $6

Holiday Central at Thanksgiving Point

Date: Nov 25 - Dec 31

Time: 6-10pm

Phone: 801-768-4900 801-768-4900

Location: 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi

Holiday Lights
Description: The outdoor showcase features more than one million sparkling lights set to holiday music, artwork by Simon Dewey and a reading of The Christmas Story. In addition to Santa’s workshop and Candy Cane Lane, this year’s lights include new displays: the Museum of Ancient Life, Thanksgiving Point Gardens and Farm Country.

Price: Entry is $8 per car or $4 per car for Thanksgiving Point members. On Nov. 29, Thanksgiving Point members can enjoy the display for free.
Photos with Santa
Santa will be at Thanksgiving Point on Dec. 6, 13 and 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Water Tower Plaza. Photos packages are available starting at $5, member discounts available.

Ice Sculpting Demonstration

See the fascinating art of ice sculpture on Monday nights in December. Each evening will feature an artist transforming a 300-pound block of ice into a holiday-themed design or character. Come watch this amazing piece evolve on Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Water Tower Plaza. This event is free to the public.

For more information on any of the Holiday Central events and to make reservations or purchase tickets online, visit www.thanksgivingpoint.org or call 801-768-4900 801-768-4900 .

BYU Planetarium Shows

Date: Oct 26 - Feb 01

Phone: 801-422-5396 801-422-5396

Time: Fridays: 7:00pm and 8:00pm

Price: $2

Location: Eyring Science Center, BYU Campus, Provo

Web Site: www.utahvalley.org/events/details.aspx?ID=231

American Dreams BYU Exhibit
Date: Feb 24 - Dec 31

Phone: 801-422-0527 801-422-0527

Time: Monday-Friday 10:00am-9:00pm, Saturday 12:00pm-5:00pm

Price: Free Admission

Location: Brigham Young University Museum of Art, North Campus Drive, Provo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Play group: Fun and Easy At-Home Thanksgiving Crafts!

Did someone say Thanksgiving?! This week was a smaller group at Playgroup due to the Holiday Season, but we still had fun anyway! 

We made some fun turkey's out a few basic home supplies:

*Toilet Paper Roll
*Construction Paper
*Paper Plate (cut in half)
*Colorful feathers (if available)
Trace your child's hand on different colors and then cut them out...
start gluing on the hands and feathers on to the plate...
lastly glue your toilet paper roll and draw/glue eyes, beak and wattle (that's what it's called!) 
That's it, easy and fun for the kids!
Also great for their sensory motor development!

For snacks we had some cute turkeys and pilgrim hats!
I attempted to use candy corn for the beak on this one. =)

All you need for this snack is...
Reeses miniatures, oreos, candy corn and some frosting (this is orange-dyed buttercream). You also might want a plastic baggy or if you have tips for decorating with frosting you can use those too.
All you do is use the frosting as a glue and put together your yummy treats. For the pilgrim hats I chose to leave the wrapping on the Reese's to match the color better with the cookie. Explore and enjoy!
All these ideas are adapted from some sort of craft I found just searching on Google, the internet is a great tool! 
Until next time!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Special Thanks To....

Timpanogos Regional Hospital for donating 20,000 diapers to United Way.  The diapers were redistributed to Pregnancy Resources Center, Utah Health Department Welcome Baby Program and United Way Welcome Baby to reach more families in need.  Timpanogos Regional Hospital donated another 20,000 diapers to Community Action for a total of 40,000 diapers from their diaper drive during the month of November.  

Utah County Health Department Welcome Baby Program
Registered nurses visit families with babies at risk for developmental delays, families on medicaid and Teen Parents.  Nurses answer any questions or concerns parents may have as well as providing helpful educational information specific to their situation.  Nurses also do Spanish Home Visitations.

Visit their Website: http://www.utahcountyonline.org/Dept/Health/WelcomeBaby/Index.asp
Nurses at Public Health Department
Pregnancy Resource Center
The Pregnancy Resource Center is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to helping those unprepared for pregnancy.  Call to see how to qualify for diaper donations.

1367 South 740 East
Orem, UT 84097
Phone: 801-221-2591
Office Hours: M/T/Th 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Playgroup: Bring a Little "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to Your Home!

Hello! Faithful readers! Another week has passed and we have had a wonderful time at play group. This week we read about the alphabet in "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," then created our very own coconut trees. We then topped it off with a delicious Chicka Boom snack! See below for the recipe!
 For the Craft:
What You'll Need:
-Construction Paper
-Foam Alphabet Letters (the ones we had were stickers--which was great!)

What You'll Do:
1) Since the kids in play group are a little younger, I pre-cut the trunks and leaves of the coconut tree (cutting coconuts could be helpful too!)
2) Children choose what color paper they'd like as their background, then glue the parts of the tree together.
3) Once the tree is formed, stick on (or glue) the letters on, off, around the tree for a fun look just like the book!
Many of the moms helped their child spell their name as well!
Look how great they all look!!
After we all CLEANED UP, we had our Delicious and Healthy Snack:
Here's what you'll need:
-Graham crackers
-Peanut Butter
-Apple Slices
-Colorful Mini Marshmallows

Here's what you do:
1) Using the peanut butter as glue, place the graham crackers (cracked in half the long way) and apples onto a place.
2) Place a cluster of raisins on the remaining peanut butter pile
3) Sprinkle a few colorful marshmallows on the plate to look like the letters on the tree
4) Enjoy!
 What a fun way to get your children to eat their fruits!! The kids LOVED them!
**There are many different renditions of this snack; if you just Google: "chicka chicka boom boom snack" and go to Images, you can get some great ideas with more healthy ingredients!**
 Until next week! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tummy Time!

Why is Tummy Time Important?
  • Tummy Time will help your baby learn how it's body works and gain control of his body
  • Develop leg, arm, back and neck muscles while lengthening front muscles
  • Develop balance while shifting weight 
  • baby will be able to roll, crawl and pull to stand earlier
  • Can Help prevent flattening in the back of the head and head tilting to one side
Remember Safety
  • Always supervise baby during tummy time
  • Avoid bulky blankets that may bunch up and restrict movement or airway
  • If baby falls a sleep change him to his back
  • With newborns, tummy time is shorter (about 2 minutes) and increases as baby  progresses
    Photo Credit
Tummy Time Ideas
  • Get down on the floor and play with baby face to face
  • Place toys in front of baby and change toys frequently
  • Lie on your back and place your baby on your stomach
  • Use a rolled towel/blanket or a Boppy pillow under your babies chest making it easier to raise and turn his head (start when neck muscles are getting stronger)
  • Place baby on tummy when dressing or drying him
  • Try carrying your baby tummy-side down
  • Play with your baby on his tummy for short periods several times a day.  This is better than playing with baby for long periods of time a few times a day.
  • You can start tummy time first day by simply placing your baby on your chest, tummy side down with his face turned to one side.  Change head positions one time facing right, the next time facing left to prevent neck stiffening
  • Start tummy time on the floor when babies neck muscles are strong enough

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Power of Play

Through Play children are learning about themselves, others and their surroundings.  Play teaches many fundamental skills that will help them throughout their lives such as creativity, self esteem, experience, social interaction, muscle development, reasoning, sharing, responsibility, self expression, ect.  Can you see these things at work when your child is playing? Why is role playing important?

Photo Credit
Part of play is exploring.  Your baby is exploring when they drop their cup over and over again and it makes a noise.  Encourage your babies exploration by staying engaged and give expressions, encourage creativity by suggesting trying something new and provide a safe environment for your baby to explore.  Watch your Baby's expressions.  What interests them?  Are they concentrating?  

Here are some activity suggestions by Ready to Learn 
  • Hold, rock, and sing to young babies.
  • Take them outside on nice days.
  • Explain what you are doing throughout the day when you change or feed them.
  • Let young babies lie on a big piece of paper and hear the crunching noise when they move.
  • Play different kinds of music on the radio.
  • Put bright toys near babies.
  • Give them soft toys (like a stuffed animal or a clean sock) to hold and feel.
  • Give babies toys they can move and make noise with (like a rattle).
  • Hang big pictures of people and animals on the wall at their eye level to look at.
  • Hang up toys you make yourself for babies to see and hear. For example, hang aluminum pie plates on a string. Let a breeze blow them, or move them with your hand.
  • Have a clean space for babies to crawl. Put bright toys near babies so they can reach out or move toward them. Put a big cardboard box on the floor so the babies can crawl inside and play.
  • Put some chair cushions on the floor. Babies can bounce and roll on them.
  • Read aloud books that have colorful pictures.
  • Have blankets and scarves for infants to hide under.
  • Remember that infants put everything in their mouths. Wash toys, and be sure they cannot be swallowed.
Watch/Read KBYU Ready to Learn workshop on Play!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Play Group Craft: Finger Painting

This week in our play group we talked about how different things (like clouds or spilt milk) could look like shapes or animals... We then painted with some finger paint, and tried to see what the paint looked like!! This activity is great for children to be "hands-on" and develop their cognitive and sensorimotor skills!
Here are some fun pictures from our activity, looks like our moms had fun too!
"Look what I made!"
What do those pictures look like to you? a tree? butterfly? fish? Use your imagination and encourage your child to do the same. It's not only fun, but developmentally appropriate! We had a great time together this week, hope to see you again next week with more!