Amazing Toddler Activities for Learning

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Now that I have a three year old, the old games we have been using are old news. I can see it in his eyes every morning when he wakes up, this kid need to be stimulated. His brain is like a sponge needing to be filled with knowledge about the world around him. So, faced with the task of keeping him growing both in body and mind, I have tried several inventive activities (and am trying more every day) to keep him appeased. And of course I will let you in on my favorites AND least time consuming for mommies everywhere. And keeping up with my “use what you have in the home” theme, most of these you won’t send you out shopping….much.

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Healthiest Formula for your Baby

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There are so many reasons your baby may need formula and none of us expect it to happen to us, until it does. You may feel down about this happening to you, but you can’t beat yourself up about it. Your baby will thrive and be as healthy as any other baby no matter what you chose to do. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as going to you local grocery store chain and buying the formula off the shelf, or even using a sample of formula given to you by your doctor. I have a long standing beef with the Food and Drug Administration in this country which I will not go into here, but I have learned since having kids not to trust anything off the shelf anymore. Most of the products you see on our shelves in America have ingredients that are banned in many countries. Crazy right? So when you are faced with a formula decision and are staring at the endless brands before you, don’t feel overwhelmed. Here is the best article I have ever found comparing each organic formula and the ingredients they contain to help you make the best choice for you and your baby.

Now, maybe you don’t want to jump into buying formula and would like to make your own? Formulas can be very very expensive and even the best ones have preservatives, so making your own at home will not only save you tons of money, but will be the healthiest option for your baby if they cannot have breast milk. It sounds like it would be hard to do, but in reality it’s very easy and only takes up to 10 minutes to make a day. This homemade option is fresh, healthy, and full of all the nutrients your baby needs to thrive without ingredients you may not want. Here is a full breakdown on how to make several types of formula (including options if your baby has a milk allergy) and also an amazing instructional video taking you through the steps. Again, if you have the energy, this is the best and most healthy option for your baby if breast milk is not an option.

Just remember you are an amazing mother, breast-feeding or not. And your baby will be happy, full of yummy food and grow to be big and strong with these wonderful and nutritious options.

Enjoy!

Must haves for the New Mom

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This is an awesome post, I have to say it. I wish this post existed when I was first pregnant. I have about 10 friends giving birth at roughly the same time this year, so I am inspired to let them know my essential must have list for their new babies. I swear I think we wasted at least a few thousand dollars on unnecessary items that we either never needed or the kids hated. Now, 3 years in and with 2 kids under my belt, I have a perfect honed down list of the items that will change your whole life. I will also write a few tips in here with each item that makes it easier, better and cheaper. And maybe at the end I will include the waste of time and money items as well. I included a trillion links to make your life easier.

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Replacing your Medicine Cabinet – Essential Oils

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Wow, has my life been changed by using these guys. I’m an idiot. A good friend told me all about these about 2 years ago and while I did listen, I never fully explored or embraced the uses of essential oils. I loved them, I felt that they made my house smell amazing, but I didn’t fully encompass the healing powers until now. Flash forward to my second baby, little to no sleep, desperate, and I am reminded by several other mothers that essential oils may do the trick to help my baby sleep through the night (after I also break him of the atrociously bad sleep habits I had aided him in forming as well). My first night using essential oils on my 6 month old and IMMEDIATELY he sleeps 12 hours through the night and blew my mind. THE FIRST NIGHT. Talk about instant results!!!

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Glyphosate – Veggies with a side of Autism

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This is a scary post. I hate scary posts, but this one is important. Recent research has shown that HALF of all children will have Autism by the year 2025. This is presumed to be caused partly by the intake of a wonderful pesticide called Glyphosate. Glyphosate is sprayed on crops to kill weeds and other crop killing plants that may interfere with the bottom line for farmers, mostly in GMO crops. So while you are feeding your child a healthy dish of greens, he or she may be getting a nice unhealthy dose of this disease causing pesticide which has been linked to Parkinson’s, gut problems and other chronic illnesses. The primary food groups of the Standard American Diet (SAD); that being, wheat, sugar, corn and soy; contain significantly more residual amounts of glyphosate because they are commonly grown using genetically engineered seeds and therefore, sprayed with glyphosate. That’s another strike on the ever growing list as to why you may want to reconsider consuming these foods as part of your diet. These residues “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.” 

When selecting what we eat at the store of farmer’s market, it’s so important to know the source of these foods, what has been put into them before they reach your plate and whether or not Glyphosate is one of those ingredients. The fight against GMO foods has to soon come to an end, mostly by consumers like us refusing to purchase anything that isn’t GMO free. It starts with us mommies, protecting our children from the great “unknown” that these companies serve us on a silver platter. If you want more information that will scare the pants off of you, click here.

 

Natural Teething Remedies that WORK

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We are only at 4 months old and teething is taking over our lives! With Jack, he did the same thing and still didn’t get any teeth until he was 7 months old. Now Keaton has begun gnawing at his little fists like crazy and wriggling around like his gums are on fire. I know it’s time to take serious action. Natural action that is. Here are the top favs in our house when it comes to battling these babies and their teeth (or lack there of)……..

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Fevers – Our friend!

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The first time Jack got a fever I was panicked. Horrified. I thought he was going to die. I called the doctor in the middle of the night expecting him to tell me to go straight to the emergency room. Not only did he NOT advise me to go straight to the hospital, he also didn’t sound too concerned about a 103 fever at all. He asked a few questions and then said to keep my son comfortable and hydrated and to use fever reducers only if he seemed in pain or achy. I was shocked.

Now, many many MANY fevers later and less of a nervous wreck about every little thing, I have learned exactly why my doctor was not on high alert about my son’s fever. It’s because fevers are good! And after lots of research it makes perfect sense why they are good. Here is the skinny:

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Earache Remedy

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So poor poor little Jack got a horrible ear infection when we went to Ireland last year which escalated into such a disastrous situation that he needed 2 doses of antibiotics. Nightmare. Poor kid. I of course never saw a sign or even knew what to look for, I thought he just had a regular old cold. So this time around, our family for Christmas decided to bond together and all get a cold at the same time, AND to spread that cold to all of the aunts and grandparents as well. Christmas spirit and all, why wouldn’t we? Now that we are all better, I notice Jack tugging on his ears. It isn’t anything yet, but I see the warning signs beginning. A trip to the doctor confirmed it is the beginning of an ear infection (post trauma sets in from my last experience) and they of course want him on antibiotics. I, on the other hand, would like to share a recipe that you can try in the beginning or even middle stages of an earache to try and solve the problem before having to resort to antibiotics. This is a powerful and effective alternative that I highly recommend, and the less antibiotics you give your child the better. This remedy is known to work every time as long as it isn’t chaos madness like our Ireland experience. All these ingredients result in a strong natural antibiotic. It’s great for adults too! Here you go!

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Unbeatable Homemade Baby Wipes

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No one likes their baby wipes! Or at least no one I know. They are expensive, they never clean the whole mess, they aren’t durable, the list goes on and on. I find ALL baby wipes, including Honest Wipes (which I do like and use), NEVER get all the (sorry to be blunt) poop particles off the tush. If you haven’t already, please give a try to my Homemade Tush Spray. I spray this on before I wipe Jack and it gently and cleanly removes EVERYTHING leaving Jack left with a crystal clean surface that my he loves. (Never had Diaper Rash). It’s only a few ingredients from your kitchen and takes under a minute to make.It may be the best homemade and not homemade product I have ever used, we have one in every room of the house as well as his diaper bag. If an earthquake happened, I would save the Tush Spray above my home computer.

ANYWAYS, wipes are expensive and usually total crap. Here is a great recipe for wipes you can make at home and will rock more than the crappy wipes you despise at this very moment. I know it seems weird but I think if you try it once you will never go back.  *I would still use the Tush Spray with these just to make baby extra clean. Here’s the recipe……

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Working Out at Home

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Not enough time in the day, yes there is. Not enough money for a gym membership, uh uh. Don’t own any weights or exercise equipment, nerp! Nike Training App is free, awesome, makes me insanely sore and can start you on an easy level and work you up to a master of your own body. So on days where the kids are a handful and you really don’t have time to make it to Pilates or go for that hike, bust this puppy out! Honestly, it will make you feel strong from the inside out again, give you back the muscles you thought were gone forever and actually increase the energy that you once believed had been drained completely by the succubus children. I promise you that even if you don’t feel like it everyday, you will be so glad you did.

*Side-note: The girls who will be training you on your app will have ridiculously impossible bodies which will either motivate you further or really piss you off, either way it’s a win win for an intense workout.

Get it on girl!

Travel Town

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Travel Town is next level amazing. It is located in the picturesque Zoo district of Los Angeles and boasts so many things to do and see that Jack would have spent the rest of his life there if we had let him. First off, it’s free. As in free free. No hidden costs or anything like that. You walk in to find that the grounds are beautiful and grassy, almost all covered in trees so there is plenty of shade. I highly recommend bringing a picnic basket and blanket and just relaxing on a hill somewhere while your child plays. There are several old trains right when you walk in, but after a little walk further inside you will find where all the fun is. Tons of vintage trains to play in (you can even host birthday parties inside of them which I may do for Jack) as well as toy trains and track laid out on the ground where all the kids can play with their own trains and tunnels. (You just need to visit the nice lady sitting on the bench with a huge box, hand her your I.D. and she will rent you 2 trains for free). You can visit the museum to see some other vintage trains, and then top off your visit with a train ride around the park. It is such a great time, and only about 10 minutes drive from where I live so I’m pretty lucky.

Choo choo!

Farming Good Times

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We are constantly trying to get out and do something fun with Jack on the weekends. One thing that is always a sure fire hit is a visit to a Pick-your-own Farm, where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables as a family. Usually there are a few other activities thrown in on the side like horseback riding, animal petting zoos, tractor rides, and starting each September….Corn Mazes!

My all time absolutely favorite one in the history of time (so far) is called Underwood Family Farms http://www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com

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This place is a little bit of a drive, roughly about 40 minutes or so from Los Angeles. BUT, it is a mecca for little ones. Clean, beautiful, full of trees and grass and animals and rides you will have the time of your life. Bring a picnic with you and make a day out of it. I found the vegetable picking part something that I didn’t even have time for, so next time we go we have to make it more of a priority. I wish this was around the corner, I would have a season pass.

Now for the next little gemstone I have found…….. it’s a website. And on this website, you can find all your closest neighborhood farms and details about what they offer, what fruits and veggies they have available to pick and activities they have going on (like the super fun corn mazes). That’s not all. It will also tell you how to make homemade jam, jelly, salsa, pickles, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, apple butter, and 150 more recipes you can store and preserve in your own kitchen. YUM! This website isn’t glamorous but it is the exact information that I crave to know about. Here’s the website: http://www.pickyourown.org

I am visiting this farm next weekend for some tractor rides, veggies and corn maze fun. It’s 17 minutes from my house in Los Angeles, who would have thought!

 

Enjoy!

What cookware is safe to use??

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Whether or not you’re aware, or you are slightly aware but don’t think about it too often, your cookware is one of the top ways to ingest poisons into your body (and your baby’s body). And by poisons, I am talking the types that could have links to future illnesses like Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It’s actually the top way to ingest these chemicals, above packaging and cleaning products.

Here is a breakdown of each type of cookware and which is safe vs. which is the most dangerous to your family’s health.

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Radiation Levels in Wild Fish of the Pacific

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Don’t freak out, this post is just to bring attention to a potential issue. I feed Jack wild Salmon as well as Cod and other types of fish multiple times a week. Always fresh, always wild caught. So of course I thought I am doing the healthiest thing for my little one, which sadly may not be the case. Radiation leakage from the Fukushima Daichi power plant stemming from the 2011 tsunami is now looking to have spread wider than previously thought. The FDA has yet to begin testing fish in our waters to find out the exact levels of contamination (which is yet another reason to dislike them more than I already do) so we don’t really have a clear picture yet. Here is the most recent contamination areas effected:

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So, yeah, it doesn’t look great. But again, don’t freak out either. Just be aware of the problem and sadly maybe research which fish is safe to eat for now before you buy.

And sorry for such a downer post! 🙂

Spinach Smoothie

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Smoothies are the one and only way I can get the last remaining items I feel Jack won’t eat into his diet. The only veggies he likes are peas, corn and carrots. And while peas are great, he needs tons of other veggies to have a healthy life. So, I have a basic recipe for smoothies and I just add whatever I like to that each day and it always turns out great. Here it is: Continue reading