Conflicting messages for mothers

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If there is anything I’ve learned about being a mother it is that raising a child today is significantly different from raising a child 10 or 20 years ago. In the world of scheduled playmates, iPads, and travel sports leagues (in addition to numerous books and theories of best ways to raise children), I’m quite sure the way we raise our children will be extremely different from how our parents raised us. I’m constantly getting advice from family, friends and online articles. Schedule more playmates to increase your child’s vocabulary, but don’t schedule playmates because kids need to learn how to entertain themselves. The iPad is a great tool for learning but too much iPad time can result in ADHD (have you tried taking an iPad away from a toddler because you think he’s had “too much time” on the iPad? It’s madness). Participation in travel sports leagues is necessary for your child to ever go pro, but if you do your child could have an assortment of elbow injuries that could result in permanent damage. Seriously, it makes my head spin. I know it’s because I spend too much time on Facebook / online reading stupid articles. But there are little things too – like when I get judgmental looks when my kid throws a temper tantrum in Target while all the other toddlers are sitting quietly in their strollers or target carts. or when my kid decides to cry at daycare drop off despite many weeks of not crying at drop off, and even when we decide to do date night rather than spend a weekend night with our son. I’m constantly working on trying to not let it get to me – my desire for free time/date nights, my inability to force my toddler to sit in a stroller, and just mommy guilt in general.

Recently I’ve been reading All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood which I’ve found to be extremely relatable. It doesn’t provide many tips on what to do with the information that is presented, but it definitely provides a variety of information which is relevant to raising a child in this modern age which causes you question and think about what should really matter to you as a mother. Know of any other great books that address this topic? Let me know in the comments below!

Reasons I love IKEA and a $100 IKEA Gift Card Giveaway!

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I absolutely love IKEA. I still remember when they first opened up an IKEA in Houston (where I’m from), then opened the IKEA in Brooklyn (close to where I used to live) and finally when we moved to Atlanta and I found out there was an IKEA in Atlantic Station - which is, by far, the most convenient IKEA I’ve been to since Atlantic Station is so central to downtown Atlanta. Henry and I have gone to their all you can eat Crawfish dinners (only $9.99/adult with an IKEA Family Card), bought our kid’s first big boy bed there, and have purchased several items for our home from IKEA in the past few years. So when I got invited to the 2015 IKEA Catalog Celebration – I was thrilled and so excited to see what new items IKEA has in store.

Here are some fun facts I learned while going on the IKEA tour:
1. The first 5 rooms in the IKEA display are purposefully chosen to display different lifestyles and family makeups and are the same throughout all the IKEA’s.
2. The IKEA grocery store has frozen cinnamon roll bites and Swedish meatballs that are delicious when reheated
3. IKEA mattresses have a 25 year warranty (I didn’t even know this and we had recently bought an IKEA mattress!). Several mattress are available rolled up so you can take it home the same day. There is also the option with IKEA shipping for IKEA to pick everything out and deliver it to you directly do you don’t even have to step into the store and find it yourself.
4. Duvet and pillow covers are sold separately from their fillings so you can fully customize duvets and pillows
5. IKEA Family is a free program to join and you get tons of discounts by just being a member including discounted prices to special IKEA lunches/dinners (We have also gone to the Mothers Day lunch and really enjoyed it), free coffee/tea at the restaurant, more smaland time, and discounted prices on select IKEA items.
6. IKEA recently provided a $10,000 makeover to Wellspring Living as part of their 2014 Life Improvement Challenge. Wellspring Living  servers girls who have experienced Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking between the ages of 12-25 and has therapy rooms and dormitories for girls who have been victimized. What a wonderful charity to donate to!

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Things to do in your third trimester

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Since I have lots of friends expecting soon, I thought I’d write a list of the things I wish I had done in my third trimester before having Caleb.

1. Watch a movie in a movie theater – You will have plenty of time to watch Netflix/Redbox movies after you have a kid and the choice is between paying for a babysitter to watch a movie or watching a movie at home.
2. Hang out with your all friends – stay late! You won’t see them for 2-3 months after your baby is born.
3. SLEEP IN – A luxury lost after your first child is born
4. Read all the books you’ve wanted to read – not just baby books (You will find time to read baby books after the baby is born)
5. Go shopping if you can’t sleep in (Target shopping counts. I love target)
6. Try new recipes
7. Go to a sporting game / cooking class / painting class (Anywhere where people will look at you funny if you bring your baby)
8. Go out to eat somewhere fancy (Utilize Restaurant Week!)
9. Go to IKEA – Until your child is potty trained and can be dropped off at IKEA daycare, you will never be able to shop at IKEA in peace again
10. Spend time with your husband doing whatever you want
11. Order something that is not on the menu…..because you are pregnant. Now is the time that you are obviously pregnant. Order something that isn’t on the menu and I’m sure the restaurant will accommodate your pregnant wishes.
12. And finally, enjoy this time. I know it’s tough. Your back hurts, you’re tired, you can’t sleep, you get leg cramps, and all you want is for this baby to leave. But enjoy it! Because once the baby is out, you will miss those little kicks and the convenience of feeding your baby by just eating more chocolate :)

Taking out stains with the Rit Color Remover

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After a long weekend in NYC my husband and I decided to just wash all our clothes together (whites and colors) – it was a bad idea. My brand new plum colored dress stained his white polo and button down shirt. I felt so bad! I did a search online and found the Rit Color Remover. Figured it was worth a try since both shirts were basically all white.

I read all the Amazon reviews and realized that I did NOT want to put it in my brand new washing machine or use the stovetop method. I was not in the mood to inhale fumes. Instead, I decided to go with one reviewer’s suggestion to just soak the clothes in hot water mixed with Rit. It was a wonderful suggestion! I found a big enough container that I didn’t mind throwing away, filled it with hot tap water (didn’t even need to be boiling water, just hot), and then went outside and mixed in the Rit Color Remover. The reviewers were not kidding when they said the smell was foul. Just imagine what it smells like in the inside of a hair salon or nail salon…one that is not well ventilated. Thankfully all the fumes went into the air. Afterwards I washed off the Rit mixture, put the clothes in the washer and dryer and they spelled as good as new!

So here’s what I thought about Rit – It worked well, but it was a little time consuming and a little bit of a hassle. If I had somehow ruined a piece of clothing that meant a lot to me, I think I would do it again. Otherwise, I probably would just throw it away and call it a day. Hope this helps someone else who is wondering if they should use Rit Color Remover!

Safari Feet

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Saw this interesting indiegogo campaign (sort of like kicksarter) through a friend and thought I’d share with you guys. No, it does not send email to a stuffed animal or consolidate all your credit cards into one. The concept is actually very simple: it’s a stuffed animal and a book. However, the difference between buying this product and buying the same combination from your local BuyBuyBaby is that this product will provide a sustainable income, training, and skills to impoverished women in Ghana, who will be creating the stuffed animals. It’s a great project to support if you’re 1) looking for ways to help out those less fortunate without feeling like you’re donating money to thin air, 2) looking for that present for the family who has everything, or 3) looking for a present for a kid who loves animals and wants to learn more about their natural habitat.

The stuffed animals come with a book that engages kids through stories about animals, their natural environment and the country they’re from. Additionally, the stuffed animals and packaging will be made from responsibly sourced materials. The funding will support a facility in Ghana, sewing machines, materials, book publishing, and marketing. Another cool fact is that this effort is being started in Atlanta. Have any questions? Let me know and I’ll pass it along to a co-founder.

 

Mommy Guilt

I was volunteering at the Nearly New Shop a few weeks ago and a mom bought a book named “Mommy Guilt”. It’s funny how the universe sends you signs like that. I had been grasping with Mommy Guilt for the past few months. You see, we recently moved to a new neighborhood and my son switched daycare providers. Every day I dropped him off he would cry and cry and not want to let me go. I thought this would only last for a week or two…let me tell you, it has been THREE MONTHS and my son just started walking into his classroom acting all grown up and saying “Bye Bye Mommy”, basically shoving me out the door. Where did my little 2 year old go and how did he grow up so fast? So here’s what I have to say to all of the working moms out there who are experiencing mommy guilt – it is hard. It is definitely hard. You will feel guilty for not spending all day with your kid. You will feel like weekends are exhausting but so short lived. But try not to guilt yourself over a crying baby/toddler when you drop them off at daycare or with the nanny. Because when you come pick them up, they will run into your arms, and when they stop crying for you when you drop them off…you will sort of miss it.

In terms of managing being a mom, work, and life, I’ve been reading a couple of books that I’ve really enjoyed:
Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time

I’m still in the middle of the second book but I hope to write a book review sometime soon. The best advice I’ve gotten has come from my husband as I’m crying over whether or not to sleep because I’m tired and pregnant or unpack more boxes because we still have so many boxes to unpack. He said to me – just do a little at a time (5 minutes before bed, 30 minutes if you wake up early one day) and eventually it will all get done. Best advice ever.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Announces Summer Safety Tips

It’s finally summer! Maybe not officially, but in the wonderful city of Atlanta it has been nice and sunny for the past few weekends, pools have opened, and schools are out for summer. That being said, I recently got these summer tips from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and thought they’d be great to share! Some of my favorite tips?

1. “Drowning can occur in a matter of seconds, so at least one adult should be a completely focused “Water Watcher.”
2. “Remind your kids before every road trip, and even just a quick trip down the road, the importance of staying calm and low-key in the back seat. Distracted driving puts all passengers at risk.”
3. Keep newborns out of the sun. From 0 to 6 months, sunscreen is not recommended because a baby’s skin is too sensitive. Instead, keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible by using proper clothing, umbrellas, canopies, and trees to provide shade for your little one.

Let’s keep our kids safe while enjoying summer at the same time! Have any favorite tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below :)

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Announces Summer Safety Tips
Five part initiative on summer safety for kids

ATLANTA (May 22, 2014) – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has released its 2014 Summer Safety Tips, which focuses on five aspects of summer safety that parents and children can practice to ensure a safe and healthy summer. The list includes helpful advice to promote water, travel & play, sun & skin, heat and fireworks safety. “Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children age 14 and under,” said James Fortenberry, M.D., Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Summer is an exciting time for kids. With that excitement comes an added responsibility for parents and children to educate themselves on what they can do to ensure a safe and healthy summer.” Children’s has created a special section of their website dedicated to summer safety awareness. Parents can visit choa.org/summersafety to educate themselves and their children on ways to have a safe and healthy summer. The tips include:

  • 1. Water Safety – Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death of children age 14 and under. Practicing water safety including boat, pool, swimming, life jacket and general water safety can help prevent this.
  • 2. Play & Travel Safety – The summer season brings more time outside and on the road. Keep your family safe by practicing safe play and travel tips like following road rules on a bike or properly buckling your children while in the car.
  • 3. Sun & Skin Safety – Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer that can spread rapidly to different parts of the body, accounts for up to three percent of pediatric cancer. Protect your kids by taking measures to prevent sunburn, and by understanding the potentially permanent effects of excessive sun exposure.
  • 4. Heat Safety – Each year, young athletes and children die from heat-related illness, which is completely preventable. Know the signs of heat illness, keep kids hydrated while playing outside, and understand how to protect babies and young children from the heat.
  • 5. Fireworks Safety – When it comes to fireworks safety, stick to the professionals and keep kids away. Doing so can prevent burns, the most common fireworks injury.

“We see an increase in emergency department visits during the summer months due to unintentional injuries that can be prevented by taking a few extra safety precautions,” said Dr. Fortenberry. “Summer should be a fun and active time for families, not spent in the hospital.” For more detailed information about Children’s summer safety tips, please click on the links above.  These tips are intended for media use.  Please credit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to making kids better today and healthier tomorrow. Our specialized care helps children get better faster and live healthier lives. Managing more than 850,000 patient visits annually at three hospitals and 24 neighborhood locations, Children’s is the largest healthcare provider for children in Georgia and one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country. Children’s offers access to more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs and is ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. With generous philanthropic and volunteer support, Children’s has impacted the lives of children in Georgia, the United States and throughout the world. Visit www.choa.org for more information.

The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., Unveils 17th Annual Tour of Kitchens

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Come support one of the Junior League of Atlanta’s biggest fundraisers!

Save the date, mark your calendars, and répondez s’il vous plait, ladies and gentlemen. It’s almost time to experience the most deliciously exciting event fundraiser of the year – the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (JLA) Tour of Kitchens. JLA is pleased to announce the 17th Annual Tour of Kitchens, a two-day self-guided tour featuring a view into 14 of Atlanta’s finest residential kitchens created by the city’s most celebrated designers. Tour of Kitchens 2014 will be held Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 30, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Kitchens on the Tour will include special appearances and demonstrations by Atlanta’s most legendary restaurant chefs and dignitaries. Tickets are available now at www.tourofkitchens.org.

Designed as a self-guided tour, Tour of Kitchens provides attendees exclusive access to renowned kitchens in some of Atlanta’s most exclusive neighborhoods, including Buckhead, Brookhaven, Ansley Park, Midtown, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. Tour of Kitchens will showcase many “firsts” this year, including its first official child-friendly chef – Chef Ed Harris, Season 4 Winner of The Food Network’s “Chopped,” as a commitment to reducing childhood obesity. Another first is the kosher kitchen designed by Lefko Design + Build.

Days before the event on Thursday, March 20, 2014, hundreds of patrons will attend the 17th Annual Toast of the Tour event celebrating design inspiration, culinary fun and community service. Toast of the Tour will take place at the PDI Kitchen, Bath & Lighting Showroom in Midtown West and will incorporate culinary demonstrations, cocktails and feature a spectacular silent auction. Bidders can expect phenomenal items, such as VIP Suites at the Mandarin Oriental, Loews and Four Seasons, Spa gift certificates, designer accessories, sports memorabilia from Atlanta’s home teams and culinary experiences in your home with Atlanta’s premier and world renowned chefs.

“This year’s Tour of Kitchens is poised to be the most impressive to date, with an extraordinary list of local kitchens, designers and entertaining events,” states Michelle Wells, president of JLA. “As our largest event fundraiser, all proceeds support our community initiatives and partners, which serve the needs and women and children in the Atlanta area. This is a very special and deliciously fun event for our community partners, members and Tour of Kitchens supporters.”

The Junior League of Atlanta is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. As JLA’s largest annual event fundraiser, Tour of Kitchens and its surrounding event, The Toast of the Tour, support this commitment by raising more than $1 million dollars since its inception.

Advance purchase tickets to the event are $35 per person and include both days of the Tour. A limited number of tickets will be available the day of the Tour for $40. Tickets to the Toast of the Tour party are $60 until March 12 and $75 until the event. 

A full list of kitchen designers and architects featured on Tour of Kitchens 2014 include: CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio; Design Galleria; Harmonious Living by Tish Mills; Rose Hall Kitchen Galleria; HammerSmith, Inc.; Insidesign; Kitchen Design Korner; Morgan Creek Cabinet Company; Kingdom Woodworks, Inc.; Home Forge Remodeling LLC; Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios; Home ReBuilders; Renewal Design-Build; Lefko Design + Build.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.tourofkitchens.org.

About The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (www.jlatlanta.org)
The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Best Portable Train Sets

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I have two sets of wish lists – one for myself, and one for my son, of course. For the longest time I have had this train table on my son’s wish list but never bought it because there is absolutely no space in our house for yet another table and sometimes I think $150 might be better spent elsewhere. However, I knew he loved trains and train tables because he would always gravitate towards them at daycare. Luckily we came across this train set at IKEA a few weeks back which our son absolutely LOVES.

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2014 Junior League of Atlanta Tour of Kitchens Fundraiser

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As a member of the Junior League of Atlanta I’d like to let everyone know that March 29-30th, 2014 is the 17th Annual Tour of Kitchens and Toast of the Tour – one of the Junior League’s largest fundraisers. The highly-anticipated, two day Tour features access into 14 of Atlanta’s most stunning kitchens, created by the city’s most talented and sought after designers. Approximately 1,200 attendees will watch as elite Atlanta Chefs, including Chef Ed Harris – Season 4 Winner of The Food Network’s Chopped, perform culinary demonstrations in various homes on the Tour. Harris, the Tour’s “Child Friendly” Chef, will promote healthy recipes– directly related to a portion of the JLA’s mission and commitment to reduce childhood obesity.

A week before the Tour on March 20, 2014, 600 patrons will raise their glasses at The JLA Toast of the Tour event. It is an evening of celebrating design inspiration, culinary fun and community service complete with a spectacular silent auction. For more information about this event, please see the Tour of Kitchens website. For more information about the Junior League of Atlanta and the community organizations that Junior League members volunteer with, please see the Junior League of Atlanta website.

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