Monday, January 31, 2011

Tips for Better Sleep

Having a new baby in the house can definitely screw up a person’s sleep schedule. A lot of napping during the day can make it difficult to sleep during the night. If you are having trouble sleeping try these tips from the Sleep Better Guide and Journal from TYLENOL PM.

Activities to get you in the Mood for Sleep
1. Make a “to-do” list- If you find yourself thinking about things you have to remember for the following day, write them down and get them off your mind so you can relax and focus on sleep
2. Listen to music or read a book- A relaxing activity like reading or listening to soothing music can help you unwind from the day and get ready for sleep. Try to do these activities away from bright lights to help separate your sleep time from awake time.
3.  Get up and do something- Don’t lie in bed awake for more that 15 minutes. Get up and do something. Try reading or another calming activity. Go back to bed when you’re feeling tired. Don’t agonize over falling asleep. The harder you try, the harder it can be to fall asleep.

Healthy Habits for Restful Sleep
1. Avoid big meals before bed- It’s best to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime. If you’re hungry, a light snack high in carbohydrates like bread or cereal may actually help you fall asleep.
2. Exercise regularly- Regular physical activity (especially aerobic) can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. Be careful not to exercise less than three hours before bedtime--it can make getting to sleep more difficult. Late afternoon exercise is ideal
3. Limit your fluids before bed- Too much liquid can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night for trips to the bathroom. Getting thirsty will cause you to wake up as well. Try to find your happy medium and keep water by the bed to quench your thirst during the night.

*Picture taken from knowledgera-theworld.blogspot.com

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cute Penigun craft!

This is a fun craft that you can adjust for any age group. There is also many ways you could make it work, so work with things you have at home!

For the penguins below I used:

Water bottles
Black, white, and yellow construction paper
Googly eyes
Styrofoam ball

Tear off the label of an empty water bottle. Push the googly eyes into the Styrofoam head then remove the cap from the water bottle and stick the head on top of the water bottle. Then wrap the white construction paper around the bottle followed by the black construction paper. Cut out some feet and tape them to the bottom of the water bottle. I made a little scarf out of some extra fleece we had, however you could make a scarf out of construction paper as well.

Here are some other examples that used black and white paint.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Creative Crafts on a Budget

We have all seen the Alphabet magnets that help our children make new words and help them to spell in the comfort of their own home and...right on their level!  Some of you parents may not have these useful little things around the house.  Here are instructions of how to make your own, budget-worthy, alphabet letters.  As you cut out the different letters, practice with your child/children the sounds and letters each one makes.  Have the children help pick out the different colors you make each letter and help them to get involved.  These instructions are very basic, so go ahead and get creative; adding your own little twist and personality!
  • Age Guideline: 5 Years and Up
  • Time Required: 30 minutes (Does not include drying time)
The above age and time guidelines are estimates. This project can be modified to suit other ages and may take more or less time depending on your circumstances.

Materials Needed:
  • Craft Foam 
  • Craft Glue or Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Magnet
  • Scissors
  • Cut letter shapes out of craft foam, what ever size you want. Cut out enough letters to spell out a word, the entire alphabet, or someone's initials - it is your choice! If you want, you can even buy pre-cut, craft foam letters.
  • Cut small pieces from your magnet strip or sheet or use magnet dots, and use glue to attach the magnets to the back of your craft foam letters. If you have larger letters use a few magnet pieces.
  • Once all of the glue is dry, hang your magnets on your refrigerator. This craft project would make a fun gift for a young child!
NOTE: If you make large letters, you can embellish them using fabric paint, stickers, gems, etc.
These instructions were found on http://familycrafts.about.com/od/alphabetactivities/a/alphamagnets.htm
Image found on http://weeklypreschoollessons.com/tag/preschool-activities/page/5/

Monday, January 24, 2011

Intestinal Infant Botulism- How to Avoid This Deadly Disease

What is it? A rare yet deadly food borne illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. An infant can contract this disease by eating infected foods.

How common is it? In the U.S. there is an average of 145 cases reported each year. Of the three types of botulism 65% are contracted by infants.  Some studies suggest that infant botulism may be the cause of 5% of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Signs and Symptoms: If left untreated, these symptoms may progress and cause paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk, and respiratory muscles and eventually death.
  • Constipation
  • Appearing lethargic
  • Feeding poorly
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Weak crying
  • Poor muscle tone (“floppy baby,” can’t hold up head)
How is it treated? If caught in time, Botulinum Immune Globulin (BIG) is given to the baby to neutralize the toxin.

How to prevent Infant Botulism? Honey can be a source of botulism spores, and should not be given to babies under 12 months of age. Never eat food out of a can that hasn’t been properly canned, or a can that looks swelled/inflated.

To learn more about infant botulism visit http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0401/p1388.html
*picture taken from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/knowhow/glossary/honey/image.jpg

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Creative Ideas from Martha Stewart

This time of year it seems like most parents are indoors with their children due to the cold weather.  Some parents may start to get cabin fever or just plain bored.  Here is a creative project you, as parents, can do while you are cooped up inside all day, every day!

Potato-Print Baby Clothes

Tools and Materials
Potatoes (white potatoes, russets, or red potatoes)
Permanent fabric paint
Sharp knives
Foam brushes
Paintbrushes in various sizes
Cutting board
Vegetable peeler
Paper towels
Child-size hangers
Melon baller
Fine brushes
One-piece or prewashed T-shirts
Ironing board

Ladybug How-To
1. Peel potato to create a smooth edge. To make the leaf, use a chef's knife to cut a large potato in half lengthwise.
2. Use a paring knife to carve a tear-drop leaf shape out of other half.
3. To create the ladybug body, carve a semicircle out of the other half for the body or cut a small red potato in half and in half again. For the head, use a melon ball scooper to cut out a circle for a round stamp.
4. Place potato stamps on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Do this only the first time you use stamp.
5. Apply paint to the flesh of the potato with a foam brush. You can use green for the leaf, red for the body atop the leaf, and black for the head.
6. Slide a cutting board inside the shirt to block paint from bleeding through the back. Press the potato stamp firmly onto the shirt. Stick a fork in larger potatoes for stability when stamping.
7. Draw a green stem with a detailing brush.
8. Stamp another ladybug body and head atop stem.
9. Draw black antennae with a detailing brush. Using the end of the brush, add small dots to the body and end of each antennae.
10. Heat-set the shirt by ironing on the front with a hot iron after stamping. For a design with a lot of detail and "puffy" painted areas, iron the back as well.

Gator How-To
1. Peel a potato to create a smooth edge. Cut two large potatoes in half and use to make five potato stamps: a rectangle for the body, four green feet, tail shape, mouth, and a small triangle for spikes on the back. Place potato stamps on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Do this only the first time you use the stamp.
2. Apply paint to the flesh of the potato with a foam brush.
3. Slide a cutting board inside the shirt to block paint from bleeding through the back. Press the potato stamp firmly onto the shirt. Stick a fork in larger potatoes for stability when stamping.
4. Dot black eyes with the back of the paint brush.
5. Dot white teeth with the back of the paint brush.
6. Heat-set the shirt by ironing on the front with a hot iron after stamping. For a design with a lot of detail and "puffy" painted areas, iron the back as well.

For more fun t-shirt ideas, read: Potato-Print Baby Clothes - Martha Stewart Kids

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cotton Ball Snowmen

Here is an idea for a fun winter craft to do with your kids! Its simple and affordable and the kids will love it!  The best part is you probably already have all the supplies at home.

Materials: Construction paper, cotton balls, and crayons.
Description: Past cotton balls on the paper to resemble a snowman and decorate him and the surroundings as you please. 

Here are a few examples.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Questions Galore...Answered!

Have you ever had so many questions you just do not know where to turn too?  Babycenter.com is your one-stop shop to all your mommy needs.  This website will provide all your answers to getting pregnant, being pregnant, resources for raising an infant and toddler, coupons for the necessities, count down til D-day, a play-by-play (weekly) on how your child should be developing, amazing recipes for food to make for your child at all ages, and so much more to help you be the best mother you can!!! 

The following information was taken from babycenter.com.  Try these ideas with your children.  We know that childhood obesity is on the rise and, typicially, when children come home from school or are done with their homework, on goes the television.  Here are some simple ideas to keep your kids moving:

  • Take family walks. Alternate walking, running, jogging, and skipping. Play "I Spy," start a collection of feathers or leaves, and sing songs or recite nursery rhymes as a diversion while you walk.
  • Lead them to water. A paddle pool, sprinkler, or running hose all encourage splashing, running, and touching. Or have your child wash your car or the family pet. (Always supervise your child around water.) 
  • Help your child draw a hopscotch board or four-square grid on the sidewalk with chalk, and then show her how to play.
  • Take family bike rides. Be sure everyone wears a helmet.
  • Challenge your child. See who can jump rope the longest, shoot the most baskets, stand on one leg longest -- anything goes. Kids love to compete against their parents.
  • Join a YMCA, YWCA, or community center as a family. Or look into other local resources that keep kids moving, such as a bowling alley, skating rink (ice or roller), or museum. 
Derived from: http://www.babycenter.com/0_activities-that-boost-physical-development_10300500.bc

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fun Crafts You Can Make at Home

Picture from http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/57281744/Stockbyte

 Looking to make some new crafts for your baby?  This website, http://www.make-baby-stuff.com, offers a ton of great ideas for crafts you can make at home. Some of these craft items include baby toys, baby clothes, things for the nursery, bedding, baby food, and even homemade gifts. The site offers video tutorials and step-by-step instructions so that anyone can make these crafts. Try them out and let us know what you think!

*Click HERE to see a funny comic on what to do and what not to do with your baby

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Free Nursery Rhymes

While you may be well aware of the importance of nursery rhymes, knowing them by heart is another story. If you are looking to learn more or to refresh your memory on the nursery rhymes and songs you grew up loving, check out this website; http://www.nurseryrhymes4u.com/

A great link is this one; http://www.nurseryrhymes4u.com/NURSERY_RHYMES/MUSICANDSONG.html
Here you can click on songs, see the words and hear the music!