Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Unsolicited Advice to New Moms

My Unsolicited Advice to New Moms

I've found myself reflecting on my own motherhood as well as the women who have mothered me over the years: my mom -- of course! -- and others who played an important role in my life. My stepmom, my best friend's mom, my mother-in-law... the list goes on. I learned how to be a mother from these women.
All my life I've watched and learned. This was an unconscious effort at first -- I wasn't thinking about the kind of mom I'd be when I was getting ready for a high school party. But, as I moved closer toward adulthood, I watched the parents parenting around me and I learned. Although these observations gave me a general sense for what being a mom would be like, nothing prepares you for the real thing.
My baby is quickly approaching 6 months old and my toddler is almost 2 1/2. I don't claim to know it all and I'm certainly not a perfect mom. But, I do my best and have taken to heart a few key lessons along the way.
  1. 1.Listen to your gut. Do your research and then decide what works best for YOU and YOUR BABY. And don't worry if that doesn't match up with your sister, cousin, friend or the judgy stranger at the grocery store.

  2. 2.Find a support group. You need people you can go to with questions and concerns. People who are in a similar phase of life, who understand without explanation why you are crying and laughing at the same time.
  3. 3.Learn to smile and nod while ignoring unsolicited advice (mine included). You don't have to take the advice, but be polite and listen nicely.
  4. 4.It is OK to leave your baby for an hour, for an evening or even overnight with others. Your baby will survive and so will you. It is also OK to miss her like crazy and cry like a maniac when you have her back in your arms.
  5. 5.Figure out what makes your child smile and laugh, and then do it over and over and over again. Even if your sing-song voice drives your husband up the wall.
  6. 6.Listen to your husband... sometimes. My husband takes the Occam's razor approach, which is a nice balance to tendency to over-analyze and over-Google every.single.thing. He's right more often than not. Don't tell him I said that.
  7. 7.To quote Michael Scott: "Adapt. React. Readapt. Act." Kids will keep you on your toes. Just when you think you have things figured out, they change and you have to start over. Don't worry -- it isn't just your kid. This is true of all kids ever born.
So, there you have it. These seven little lessons that have served me well and will continue to serve me well as my children grow. I tried to come up with three more lessons to make a well-rounded number, but I'm tired. I was up with my baby at one in the morning, then again at 6 and then my toddler woke up at 6:30. I'm a mom and I have a job that keeps me busy, so seven is good enough. In fact, I'll make that last sentence lesson number eight: What you have to give is good enough.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

6 Things You’ll Need To Make Your Own Baby Food

I'm a strong believer that home made food is the best, healthier and cheapest option to feed a baby. And here is an article to show you that it can also be super easy and fast to make when you have the right tools, and trust me if you have a kitchen in your home you already have the right tools.

How To Make Your Own Baby Food

By Melissa Gosser

While committing to making your own baby food is the perfect excuse to run to Sur La Table, you probably have most of the essentials in your kitchen already.
All you need are the six items below, some fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, and you’ll be on your way to making gourmet baby food in no time.

  • Steamer
  • : A good old pot and steamer basket will do just fine to soften tough fruits and vegetables. Make sure the lid is tight fitting to keep in all the good nutrients.
  • Food processor/Blender
  • : Puree, blend or mash steamed food to the perfect consistency/texture.
  • Oxo Food Mill
  • :  Unlike the food processor and blender, this tool takes off skins and seeds. It’s great for making apple sauce!
  • Masher
  • :  A fork is the perfect masher. Use in place of a blender to get a chunkier consistency.
  • Storage containers
  • :  With these, you can make large portions ahead of time, divide up into ice cube trays and freeze. (Ice cube trays make the perfect serving size for little bellies).  Once frozen, pop out, transfer to the storage containers, label and date.

Need some inspiration?  The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet is a great resource for delicious and nutritious homemade baby food.  Consult your pediatrician before starting solids to discuss what foods and consistencies are appropriate for each stage.
Then, grab your tools and channel your inner chef.
Source: 9Bliss

Thursday, May 22, 2014

13 Things All Men Should Know About Pregnant Women

By: Aaron Gouveia 

When it comes to dealing with pregnant women, I'm no expert. Hell, I still don't even know how to figure out women in general. In fact, I'm the antithesis of an expert. Luckily for you, I've made just about every single stupid mistake and placed my foot so far in my mouth during my wife's pregnancies that I'm overqualified to speak to you about things you need to know to avoid getting knocked out by the knocked up.
Things All Men Should Know About Pregnant Women
Here are the 13 most important things to remember.
1. Feed her constantly.
Everyone knows food is important to pregnant women. But what the uninitiated might not realize is that time is of the essence. The bottom line is, when she says she's hungry, she means it. Feed that woman immediately or she will eat your f*cking face. Know that "I'm hungry" doesn't mean she's looking forward to the dinner plans you have in an hour. It means give her a snack before you leave for the restaurant. And then again when you get in the car. Failure to promptly produce snacks will result in extreme b*tchiness at best, and bodily injury at worst. Just turn yourself into a walking, talking vending machine for nine months and you'll be fine.
2. Food: What's yours is hers, what's hers is off-limits.
There's a good chance you've been married or together a few years now, so it's perfectly understandable that you bought into all that stuff about togetherness and sharing a life, etc. And while some of that still applies, all bets are off when it comes to food. If you eat food that's hers (or food you bought for yourself but she somehow claimed as hers), she will cut you. Not physically, perhaps, but by the time she's finished excoriating you you'll wish it was just a knife wound you suffered. I ate some of MJ's chocolate once, and when she went to find it during a craving and saw that it was gone, she flew into a rage that was one of the scariest things I've ever seen. Just don't do it.
3. Get ready to gain weight.
Notice how all the topics so far have involved food? That's no mistake. Ultimately, at some point, she'll have cravings. When MJ was pregnant with Will, she wanted pizza, Kit Kats and grapefruit. The second time around, it was nothing but fruit salad. But whatever the craving, one of the unmentioned side effects of pregnancy is YOUR weight gain. Yes, the guys gain weight, too. Mainly because we inevitably partake in our partners' cravings and all the extra junk food results in a spare tire. I gained 25 pounds during MJ's pregnancy five years ago, just a shade under the total amount she gained -- WITH THE BABY! So watch your step.
4. Don't point out how big she's getting.
My Boston sports habit notwithstanding, I'm a fairly logical person. I knew MJ was pregnant and pregnant women gain weight. That's why I thought absolutely nothing of pointing out my wife's really cute swollen belly. In my mind, it was just nature progressing and running its course, and there was nothing more beautiful. But after the first two or three times I said it, she snapped on me. "STOP TELLING ME I'M FAT! I KNOW I'M FAT! I DON'T NEED YOU POINTING IT OUT!!" It didn't matter that in my eyes she had never looked more beautiful, or that she was SUPPOSED to be gaining weight. Which leads me to my next point...
5. "Pregnancy Brain" is very real.
I know it sounds like some sort of cutesy, media-created term. But it's not. Pregnancy Brain is legit. It starts with everyday occurrences like looking for her glasses while they're on her head, which is kind of adorable. But it soon progresses to things like leaving the basement door open in 5-degree weather and freezing the entire bottom floor of the house while simultaneously leaving us susceptible to a home invasion. And in a fit of irony, I just asked MJ to give me more examples of Pregnancy Brain, but she couldn't -- because she can't remember.
6. Goodbye, sense of humor.
The good news is: she's gained a baby. The bad news? There wasn't enough room for the baby AND her sense of humor. If you're a smart-a** like I am, this is especially troubling, since I show affection by giving people good-natured sh*t. Unfortunately, my pregnant wife does not appreciate my unique brand of humor while carrying our little parasite around in her stomach. The results are often me firing off (what I consider to be) beautiful comedic quips and zingers, which don't just fall on deaf ears -- they fall on potentially homicidal ears. You've been warned.
7. Say goodbye to sex, too.
Listen to me carefully -- you're about to be sexually frustrated. The first trimester is by far the worst. It's when she'll be going through the most changes and feeling the sh*ttiest. It's everything she can do to avoid throwing up every morning (and sometimes at night), so your feeling unloved and "backed up" doesn't really register. So fire up the porn and give yourself a hand, because you're now a sex camel, my friend. The only silver lining is you'll have sex two times during the pregnancy. You have a one- to two-week window when her sex drive returns early in the second trimester. Enjoy that, because it's not happening again until very late in the pregnancy. Right at the end she'll be so desperate to get the baby out of her that she'll use you in the hopes that sex will send her into labor. It's slightly awkward, but after the drought it's a welcome relief -- as long as her water doesn't break right then and there.
8. Yes, her boobs are bigger; no, you can't touch them.
While we're on the topic of sex, let me tell you about one of nature's cruelest tricks. When a woman is carrying a child, it's a beautiful thing. That "pregnant glow" you always hear about is real, and it does wonders for her hair, her fingernails and -- her rack. A becomes C, B becomes D and C becomes Hallelujah Thank You Jesus! They swell up to gargantuan sizes, literally breaking bras at the seams and popping off her chest in a fit of Playboy glory. The only problem is, you're not allowed to touch them. It's like going to the pet store and seeing the cute puppies behind the glass but not being able to pet them. They're adorable and you want to take them home and keep them forever, but if you try to motorboat her puppies she will slap the sh*t out of you. Trust me.
9. Your dick can't hurt the baby.
Let's get this one out of the way right now -- your penis will have no effect on the baby in your wife's womb. Got that? I don't care if you're on par with Ron Jeremy, your dick is not going to scare the kid and it's certainly not going to poke him in the forehead. Not only that, but any suggestion to the contrary will send your pregnant wife into hysterics. And there's nothing more demoralizing than a conversation that involves your penis and hysterical laughter. So I'm told...
10. You will be replaced by pillows.
Did you spend a crap ton of money on a mattress? Some sort of memory foam or pillowtop deal that makes you feel like 1,000 little angels are massaging you as you fall asleep every night? Well, I hope you also spent money on a comfortable couch, because that's likely where you'll be sleeping for a decent part of the pregnancy. And it's not so much because of the increased space your pregnant wife takes up, either. It's the pillows. Yup, that's right. You become increasingly irrelevant as the pregnancy wears on, but the 37 pillows -- including that godforsaken full-body pillow -- become absolutely vital nighttime companions. And when push comes to shove, you're getting the shove to the sofa.
11. Don't treat her like glass.
Many men -- myself included -- feel very protective of their wives in general. But when it's our baby growing inside of her, that protective instinct suddenly ratchets up several notches. I try not to let MJ open doors, carry groceries, pick up heavy objects, etc. And for whatever reason, that sticks in her craw something fierce. It's not that I don't think she can fend for herself; I just feel it's more important than ever to keep her safe, and to make sure the heavy lifting is kept to a minimum. And that's when I get the "I'M NOT MADE OF GLASS, STOP TREATING ME LIKE A PRINCESS!" retort. Oh well, husbands/boyfriends of pregnant women are damned if we do and damned if we don't.
12. Pregnant women are lazy.
This one is VERY touchy. After all, they're carrying new life around inside of them. Their bodies are growing, stretching and changing to accommodate said life. But the fact remains, pregnant women are L-A-Z-Y. Case in point, a disturbing trend has emerged in the Daddy Files household during my wife's second pregnancy. MJ has not only stopped doing dishes, she's no longer even attempting to put the dirty dishes in the sink. Instead, she brings them into the kitchen and puts them a foot away from the sink. Moreover, all of the coffee cups are half-full and every bowl has a ton of soggy cereal remaining in it. I don't mind doing the dishes, but I do mind a counter full of crap. How hard is it to empty the dishes and move them ONE MORE FOOT into the sink?? But you can't gripe about this because...
13. You can't complain.
All these things I've listed? You can't mention any of them to your pregnant wife. Because even if she's lazy, not giving you any, won't let you touch her boobs, can't remember a thing, sleeping with the Pillow People, making you crash on the couch, putting on massive amounts of weight, and eating you out of house and home, it doesn't matter. She's pregnant. She's carrying your child. Which means she's got the trump card and all your complaints are hereby dismissed. Seriously, just think about you complaining and what her response will be. Something like "Dishes? You're complaining about dishes?? I'm growing a human being in my stomach the size of a watermelon that I'll eventually have to push out an opening the size of a lemon. NOW WHAT WERE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT AGAIN?!?"
Read more at The Daddy Files, and follow Aaron on Twitter (@daddyfiles) andFacebook.

Source: Huff Post

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

11 of the Cutest Baby Shower Cookies Ever!

The humble cookie might have been displaced by the cake pop as every party's favorite individually sized treat, but we found 11 reasons why you should take a second look at the classic dessert when planning a modern, stylish baby shower. From cute cookies shaped like baby animals and shower gift staple Sophie the Giraffe to classic cookies displayed and decorated in wholly new ways, these cookies are sure to provide some baby shower inspiration!

Animal Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

Sweet Dani B's animal sugar cookies were actually created as favors for Martha Stewart'sgranddaughter's first birthday party, but we think they'd work equally well for a baby shower.
Photos by Francesco Lagnese. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2012. Originally published in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine

Baby Bottle Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

All that's needed to make these baby-themed treats was a simple sugar cookie recipe and a custom cutter.
Source: Chasing Arrows

Baby Bunting Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

Glorious Treats' baby bunting cookies included two large centerpiece cookies as a special treat for the new mommy to take home, mini circle cookies for guests to enjoy at the shower, and square cookies that were packaged as favors.
Source: Glorious Treats
Baby's Favorite Things Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

Squirrels, bears, moons, stars, and whales mingle seamlessly in Sweetopia's baby shower cookie favor box.

Baby Shoes Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

You don't get any sweeter than Kate Landers's baby shoe-topped sugar cookies. These cookies, topped with fondant shoes created by Holly's Sweet Hobby, might actually be too cute to eat.

Rattles Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

These sweet, pastel baby-rattle cookies hide a tasty treat . . . they're actually store-bought Oreo cookies dipped in vanilla candy melts and sprinkles.

Onesie Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

The onesie sugar cookies from Flour Child are the perfect addition to any shower.
Source: Banner Events

Hooray For Baby Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

For a Hooray For Baby-themed shower, host Becca ordered custom megaphone cookies fromAuntie Bea's Bakery to coordinate with the invitation.
Source: Cake Events

Chocolate-Covered Oreos
Baby Shower Cookies

Sometimes a humble cookie just needs a little makeover, as proven by these glammed-up Oreos, served at this lavender "baby love"-themed shower.

Vintage Duck Toy Cookies
Baby Shower Cookies

We're blown away by these vintage duck toy cookies, created by baking brain behind The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

Sophie the Giraffe Cookie
Baby Shower Cookies

Sweet Kiera's Sophie the Giraffe cookie pays homage to a staple gift at most baby showers.
Source: Sweet Kiera
Source: PopSugar