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Cool things from around the world for your traveling baby

Updated: 2018-03-02T18:22:21.156+01:00


Eco and Green: Making Paper


 So, many of you don't know this but I am a co-chair for the Green Committee for my child's preschool. What does that mean? I help implement ecologically friendly programs and help parents and children understand the impact of daily living and how we can do better. Quite a mouth full isn't it? On a smaller scale we help generate ideas for Reuse, Recycling and Repurposing.

(image) At one of our big events I demonstrated how to make paper out of old shredded newspaper and colored paper. The children loved the tactile sensations of squishing the water out of paper and pressing it into the screen for drying. We had so much left over that one of the teachers, Esther,  took the rest of our mulch added Elmers glue to it and shaped bowels out of it! Here they are in their drying stage:

Then the children painted and varnished them! From old paper to homemade paper, bowls, piñatas the possibilities are limitless.

Recipe for making simple paper:

  • shredded paper (newspaper, copy paper, construction paper -whatever you have on hand that doesn't have a smooth coating like plastic)
  • a large bowl and enough water to cover the paper
  • a metal screen (like a mosquito screen or fine flat strainer
  • cookie sheet or any other large flat non-porous surface like a glass table
  • pastry scraper

Soak the paper overnight for 1-2 nights (depends on thickness of paper). Get your little people to mush it up some more -tearing and mixing it breaks it down further. After it is fully mushy and swollen with water smooth it out on your screen -then flip it onto your cookie sheet and scrape the screen to get out more water and to flatten out the mixture. When you've squeezed out as much water as possible leave it to dry in a warm dry place. Here in California I just leave it out in the sun for an afternoon or two.  Then there you have it -home made paper!

Go the Fuck to Sleep -read by Samuel L Jackson


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Go the F*&^ to Sleep


OMG, I'm rolling off the couch laughing while listening to Samuel L. Jackson read the book, Go the F#$& to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés on YouTube .

He is the perfect voice of my subconscious thoughts and needs right now. This time change has my little ones keeping up and well not sleeping. It's kind of getting to me. So, I'm keeping a sense of humor. Take a listen it is awesome! Or check out my aAstore for the hardcopy. How are you handling the time change?

Art Meets Children


Children meet art at the San Diego New Children's Museum and it is a wonderful interactive place to take the little ones. In my opinion art should be accessible to everyone and when I say accessible I mean hands on. There are lots of opportunities in this museum for you and the children to get into building, drawing or expressing themselves in all sorts of ways. This month they have rock climbing, jumping, a Trojan Horse, feel up a wall and all the clay you can sculpt. Go and explore! Then next door there is a pancake house for the little starving artists.

Easy Feedings


Forgive me for being on airplane mode for so long. I'm trying to get back to what I love -writing (while two little monkeys hang from my arms no less). So feeding time for the Little One has improved since I found Sprout Baby food -it is actually food I would serve at home and to everyone (if everyone were on a semi-liquid diet that is).(image)
Don't get me wrong I'm not that into pre-packaged food (G-d sometimes I wish I were). But, these little packets are so convenient when you are out and don't want to lug the glass containers around -like on airplanes!
Speaking of which, I also really like Plum Organics because they have a spout that the baby can suck out of instead of having a spoon -mine always think it is funny to take away the spoon and fling it at another passenger. Try them -they'll love it!

The Desperate Diaper Dilemma


Don't you hate it when you've somehow made it through the grocery shopping while juggling the children and the cart but, the moment you put the key in the door you say to yourself, "Sugar Honey Ice Tea! I forgot the diapers, formula, wipes etc." Well, I'm done with that. I've just signed up with they will deliver it all to my door in a relatively short amount of time (two days) and with free shipping (most times because I spend more than $49 worth of wipes and diapers). sells a lot more than diapers so take a look and if you put in my referral code "2ciaos" you can get $10 off your first order of diapers (and if you spend more than $49 you get free shipping!).

FREE Museum Entrance


This Saturday (Sept. 26, 2009) is The Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day which means free entrance into hundreds of museums around the US. All you have to do is to fill out an easy form and present it as your admission to the participating museum in your area -how easy is that?!

Avoiding Gross Cribs


Have you seen the documentaries on the the germs and bugs in hotel rooms? I love traveling but I hate hotels especially now with children. I can't begin to tell you how my skin crawls at the idea of germs and the unseen things that lurking in hotel rooms. I also avoid using a roll away crib (who knows when the last time they checked the mattress or where they keep it - a moldy broom closet??).

So, to avoid the whole germ and safety standards questions I have started to pack a PeaPod Travel Bed. I can zip the Little One in and not worry about her being eaten by mosquitoes, bed bugs, etc. It has a self inflating mattress, UV and wind protection (great for the beach). The best is that it is easier to carry around than the playpen (pack and play).

P.S. Doesn't that photo make you miss the days when people traveled in their Sunday best and showed their best manners?

Kid friendly baseball in San Diego?


When in San Diego it is hard to pass up the chance go to an all-American baseball game with the Padres. I was told that PETCO Park was kid-friendly with its sandbox the "Beach." What a great idea! How else can you keep a three year old entertained? So not knowing the lay of the land we got some premium seats and figured that when the Little Man got tired we would breakout the sandbox surprise. We didn't last long before we were making our way out to it. When we go there we were shut out. It turns out that you are only allowed to be there before or after the game not during. The only people allowed there during the game are those who buy bleacher seats -so here we were holding our premium tickets and the usher was telling us to go buy bleacher seats for this game if we wanted to enter. Errr! You've now been warned to just buy the bleacher seats next to the beach.

Autumn Pumpkin Waffles


(object) This is a great way to get your little pumpkin to eat some good veggie! It would also be great frozen for the little teether in your life (I swore by frozen waffles when the little man was teething). Thanks to my good friend Mary for the recipe!

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Giving Chocolate Away?!


(image) We love chocolate and this year the Little Man and I will be Reverse Trick-or-Treating for a good cause. When we show up on your doorstep we will hand YOU a piece of Fair Trade chocolate (you deserve better than that mass produced stuff any way -right?).

What is the catch? We'll also hand you a little note explaining that we are doing this in order to:

  • END poverty among cocoa farmers
  • END forced/abusive child labor in the cocoa industry
  • PROMOTE Fair Trade
  • PROTECT the environment

  • Not familiar with what Fair Trade is?
    Fair Trade certification prohibits the use of abusive child labor, and encourages the adoption of safer, chemical-free farming methods. Also, the guaranteed Fair Trade price paid for cocoa raises farmers’ incomes and supports a more environmentally sustainable small-scale farming model.
    The best news is that you can join us for FREE (well, you do have to pay for shipping). You have until October 13th to order your free chocolate and cards and I hear that supplies are limited so sign up fast! While I was signing up I also bought an extra few bits of chocolate for the ghouls that go bumping on my door.(image)

    If you live in the US: you MUST DO this


    My friend Gloria has just alerted me to this and I believe that stopping child exploitation and sexual abuse is a very important issue. There is a bill called the Protect Our Children Act that will help fund the technology that already exists that will aid in finding and arresting these criminals who are profiting and abusing children.

    This is the testimony of Grier Weeks, Executive Director, National Association to Protect Children before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary on April 16, 2008:
    The maps you are seeing today of domestic child pornography trafficking are not simply visuals depicting illegal Internet activity. Nor do they simply tell us where the criminals are. These are rescue maps. Law enforcement is now providing you with information that can lead authorities, very predictably, to tens of thousands of locations within the United States where children are in immediate danger and waiting for help.

    That is because while all of these suspects are contributing to a massive black market that commissions the rape of children, a certain percentage are also directly sexually assaulting children themselves. Law enforcement has consistently estimated that somewhere between 30-40% of arrests for child pornography possession turn up evidence of local child victims.
    We all need to come together and let your Senator know that you support this bill. Write or call your Senator NOW. To find out where to write or call follow the link below:

    And if you don't know what to write Oprah has a great form letter you can personalize here:

    Hurry -they are voting on it this month!

    Soothing your Mysophobia


    ello everyone! My name is Alex and I'm a germaphobe. I just got great news in my inbox from a company that has a GREAT hand sanitizer -Cleanwell. I've blogged about them before here. Their product does not have any alcohol nor does it have anything toxic and it has a pleasant scent. I've used their product and I swear by it -it works wonders even on a trip to the local vet office yesterday. The vet office had a "veterinary grade hand sanitizer" that was so bad that the nervous dog smell remained on my hands (yuck!). I pulled out my last remaining drops of Cleanwell and the smell and grime was all gone! It is safe around babies and pets with no worries of toxicity or intoxication.

    You could win a one year supply just go to their sweepstakes page here and sign up!
    By the way you know I won't steer you wrong because I will tell you what is NOT worth the money. Cleanwell is well worth it. Check out their site they will also email you a $1 coupon!

    Manners and the Little Man



    My Little Man has all sorts of books from travel, art, things that go 'vroom,' to things that go 'moo.' One of the things that has been missing from this collection is an etiquette book and I don't think he would take to well to an Emily Post book --unless he used it to reach the chocolates on the kitchen counter. 

    I recently found this really cool book, Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra, while browsing in a local children's store. Turns out the Big Bad Wolf has retired and left his sinister life behind. It is a really neat book with lots humor for the adults reading it and cool colorful drawings. I give it 4 sleepy bears out of 5. Get a copy through my Amazon link (it is free to use the link).

    Wise words to live by -no matter the age.

    Food Faces


    Helping to encourage a toddler to eat isn't always the easiest thing. I've never understood the idea of fun food. To me food is a necessity and at the best of times a wonderful celebration of taste, texture, fragrance and talent. But fun?

    Well, I've turned over a new leaf and here I am in 'mommy-hood' trying to make food fun. Imagine my delight when I get an email from my friend Gloria with this wonderful photo:

    She has used a Japanese rice shaper and then used a Nori cutter for the faces -how ingenious! I suppose you could also use one of those crafting cutters too. How cute are these? Thanks for the idea Glo!

    To All My Jewish Friends


    Better late than never right?

    Weekend Air Travel?



    While traveling by air in Europe and America I've been a little frustrated. In Europe children under two years sit on your lap with a seat belt extender wrapped around your seatbelt and the baby's waist (or whatever else you can wrangle). In the US they don't offer you that option and instead you simply hold your baby in your lap or buy an extra full fare seat AND bring a car seat -either not safe or not affordable. 

    Some clever person has invented this little vest, Baby B'air, has saved my friend a lot of grief. It is soft, foldable, washable and metal free. As you can see from the photo Little Ms. M doesn't mind the vest at all and it gives her mum a piece of mind -and who can deny it that when it comes to turbulence.

    Here is a little video from the company:

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    P.S. Happy Birthday to Little Ms. M -the model!

    N.B. For an older child I've used this with great success -beats taking along the car seat!

    Half Wrong?!


    I thought I was pretty nutritionally savvy until I took the Washington Post's nutrition quiz (here). Take the quiz and let me know how you do. I'm avoiding giving away any of the answers but some were very surprising. Good luck!

    FREE baby stuff! The Good the Bad the Ugly


    s it too good to be true?! There are a number of new and not so new sites out there that you can either barter, exchange or just get baby and kids (even maternity) stuff for free. Have any of you used the sites and had any good or bad experiences -let me know! Or, tell me which one is the best/worst!

    Free sites:

    Exchange sites:
    Swap Baby Goods

    Happy non-shopping-shopping!

    Welcome little babies! and a little advice


    Sorry it has been a bit since I've posted but I've been really busy visiting and house hunting. However, I've been getting a lot of good news in my inbox of recent births and soon to be births -so Mazel Tov! Auguri and Congrats to all of you!!

    For you mums my best advice for you is to sleep as much as you can and whenever you can -this is the time to lean on Daddy and anyone else. Also, you will notice that your hormones are doing you no favors right now with giving you the sweats and smellies. I can't help you with the sweating part other than to tell you to wear a lot of cotton. As for feeling smelly -I can help you there. (image) Meet your new best friend: baking soda! Doctors advise new moms to stay away from soaps when baby is new so that they can learn your special smell and help with the bonding process. So the next best option is to use baking soda because it neutralizes odors and is a great all over scrub.

    Advice number two is for the bambino. If you spent most of your time in bed wouldn't you think that the mattress would be the most important piece of furniture in your life? Don't skimp on baby's mattress and by that I mean go for organic. A lot of non organic mattresses take a long time to de-gas the carcinogenic toxins (ever notice the new car smell of things? well don't breath in too deep because it is cancer causing). Some European studies have even linked mattress toxins to the higher incidences of SIDS. What ever the case you don't want to worry about that so just get an organic mattress. Check out Ecobaby/ Pure Rest Organics 7550 Miramar Rd #220, San Diego, CA 92126 -they are having a sale!

    If however you are unable to get an organic mattress at least get a wool mattress cover to put under the sheets. They are easily found in Europe and really help baby control heat loss and heat retention as well as being a buffer for possible mold, de-gassing and dust mites.

    Big kisses to you and your babies!

    A cool all your own


    If you've been reading this blog for some time you'll know that I LOVE things that are special for my special Little Man and friends. Well, a cool friend of mine has just started up an embroidery business called Sew Sweet Personalized Gifts. She does some really cool work and she's now offering some of her talents up on Etsy. [Please tell me you've heard of Etsy! no? OMG! It is the best place to find cool hand crafted stuff from real people vs. real big corporations. Check it out at Etsy]
    Take a look at some of her cool works:(image)

    Getting organized and having it all with a child?


    Is this even possible? It is funny because a lot of moms seem to think I’m the most put together mom they know. I show up (most times) cleanly and well dressed, house is usually picked up, fresh flowers in place, Little Man is sporting another jaunty and clean outfit, laundry is mostly done and there is always food in the fridge.So what’s my secret? my routine?1. invest in good clothes that fit and all washable in the washing machine (by the way cashmere is washable in the machine just don’t dry it in the dryer)2. before leaving the house clean off one table surface and pull up the sheets (aka make the bed)3. you and the members of your family are worth the luxury of flowers -any will do whether it is picked from your garden (even big leaves and palm fronds are wonderful) or from a florist or a grocery store or the vendor on the street4. the children’s clothing make it good and make it last. I have the good fortune of having a friend who has a little man who is exactly one year older than mine and she passes down most of his clothing. This has been such a blessing on our pocketbook (thanks Cheryl!). Find someone you can exchange with -a mom’s group or play group.5. Which brings me up to the all important LAUNDRY. Always do just one full load a day to keep the monster from growing out of hand. Keep your clothes looking good by using cold water (good for environment and wear and tear on your clothing) and using slightly less than what the manufacturer recommends (remember they are in the business of selling soap not of saving your clothes). Always spot clean before throwing clothes in. Any blood or tar should be rinsed with cold water and then rubbed with a little pine cleaner (the cheaper the better it works). Oil stains -get them out with chalk or baking soda. When all else fails I keep a chlorine pen at hand for those really tough spots (use sparingly because it is a carcinogen). Another thing I keep around the laundry area instead of commercial liquid fabric softener is vinegar (the kind they sell in bulk). Fabric softeners contain too many perfumes and dyes that are potentially harmful for children and after prolonged use clothes become ‘waxy’ and frayed. Vinegar in the last cycle of laundry gets out the residue of the detergents, organic smells and keeps your clothes soft --all for a lot less than buying a hazardous liquid fabric softener!Always keep a small pair of scissors, a fuzz remover and a little sewing kit and old luggage tags that airlines put on your luggage around the laundry area. Scissors for the threats that hang off clothes after the laundry. The fuzz remover is essential in keeping your clothes looking the best, use it on sweaters, jackets, t-shirts anywhere little fuzziness appear. I’m always waiting for the washer to finish and if while I wait I make sure buttons are secure and if they aren’t I quickly tighten them up with the sewing kit --very convenient (and it keeps me from having a pile of stuff I need to sew -who wants to do that much?!). Old luggage tags have great tackiness and work wonders as a lint roller both at home or on the road so I never throw them out until they are well used up. If you don’t travel that much just keep a lint roller or a roll of thick masking tape around. Oh, and by the way if you left the laundry in the washer one moldy day too long then run a cycle with 3 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda -no soap required.6. Food -hmmm.... everyone’s staples are different. So I’ll tell [...]

    What I'm lusting for now: Bakefiets


    Being half Dutch I have a soft spot in my heart for chocolate, potatoes, pancakes, bicycles and boats. The latest bicycle that gets my heart racing? The Bakfiets! All of them or any of them!

    They ride and handle like a dream and look at how many munchkins you can fit in there! I've also seen it with 2 car seats strapped in. A family bike -don't you just love it?! Now, if I could only get someone to give me one...

    The Big Top in Town


    A few weeks ago Cirque du Soleil was in town performing Corteo. I was on the fence as to whether I should make it a date night (haven't had one of those in FOREVER) or family night. Well, since we're still new here and we don't have a sitter we made it a family night.

    If you've never been to a Cirque du Soleil show it is an AMAZING circus unlike any other. They don't use animals and the performances are artistically flawless from the artistry of the costumes, music, athletic ability, lighting --well, everything. The Little Man was so thoroughly entertained he didn't even move and all he could say was "WOW" and "MORE PLEASE." Not bad for a 2 year old! So if you've never taken your child or your inner child to a Cirque performance YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST -you won't regret it.

    As they say in France "Publicité"


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    This is my response to an article that ran in the NY Times titled, "Parent Shock: Children Are Not Décor."