Monday, 25 March 2013

10 Safe and Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

It’s a known fact that kids spend too much time glued to the TV, computer or video console.

Decades ago parents couldn’t get their kids to come indoors because there was too much
happening outside with kick-ball games, bicycle rodeos, mud pie making, relay races and more.

The warmer weather is almost here, so get ready to get the kids out of the house and moving.
Here are some safe ideas that encourage wholesome, family fun.

1. Have a scavenger hunt – Create a list of things around your home or neighborhood that
the kids can find and send them on a hunt. If you have more than one child, or your child
has friends over, you can make a contest out of it. First one back gets a prize!
2. Play in the sprinkler – Running through the sprinkler is great fun for little kids on a hot
day. You don’t have to worry about the water being too deep, and they love going back
and forth chasing or being chased by the spray.
3. Host relay races – Get a group of kids together and explain to them how the relay race
works. Set up a couple of teams and let the fun begin. This is a great way to work off
energy.
4. Play in the sandbox – A large box full of sand in the backyard is still a great play space
for kids. Just add pails, shovels and perhaps a plastic dump truck or two and let the fun
begin.
5. Have a backyard picnic – Instead of the usual lunch in the kitchen, pack a lunch and eat
it outside. Sitting on a blanket on the grass and eating lunch with the kids is a wonderful
way to spend some quality time with them.
6. Make fairy homes – Using natural things from around the backyard, the kids can build
little fairy homes. Once they get started, it might be hard to get them to stop.
7. Plant and tend a garden – Kids love planting seeds and watching the garden grow. You
may even get them to eat some of the vegetables they plant, especially if you show them
how to make some of the fantastic kid friendly recipes available online.
8. Make sidewalk art – Grab a bucket of sidewalk chalk, and let your budding artists
express themselves. Kids love drawing pictures on sidewalks and driveways. Blocking
off the driveway for safety is a smart idea if your kids choose to create their art work
there.
9. Play hopscotch – As long as you have the sidewalk chalk out, you may as well draw
a hopscotch court and teach the kids how to play. It’s a popular playground game that
provides kids with fun as well as exercise.
10. Blow bubbles – Have you ever seen a kid encased in a giant bubble? There are all kinds
of bubble makers these days from the little round circle on a stick to the giant bubble
maker that can encase a child. Kids love making bubbles, chasing bubbles, watching
them dissolve and breaking them. Show older kids how to make homemade bubble
solution by mixing 1 part Dawn or Joy, 15 parts distilled water and ¼ part Karo syrup.

There are so many activities for kids to do outdoors. From playing backyard games like Red
Light, Green light to inventing a world of make pretend, encourage your kids to take advantage
of spending time outdoors.

Michelle LaRowe is the editor-in-chief of eNannySource.com. eNannySource.com has been
helping families and nannies find each other since 1994. LaRowe is also the author of Nanny
to the Rescue!, Working Mom’s 411 and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists. She was the 2004
International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} Shares New Orleans

Mardi Gras may have been last week but New Orleans is a treat any time of the year.  Our guest blogger, Kiley Smith shares about her family’s recent trip, some favorites things and **star** sightings!

neworleans1

This past summer my family and I went to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

We had an absolute blast (despite it being SO humid and SO hot)! We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel-located walking distance from the french quarter, it was clean and gorgeous.  New Orleans is a great place to go celebrity watching! While staying at our hotel we met Ryan Gosling-(gasp!). He told us he was on ‘vacation’ so we don’t have photos of us actually meeting him but thankfully before we ‘met’ him my sister managed to take some sneaky photos of him walking through the hotel lobby. Later on that day we saw Forest Whitaker at the Aquarium with his daughter. I thought our TWO celebrity run-ins in the same day were pretty cool!

ryan

Planning a trip to NOLA anytime soon? Here are the things you MUST do (and some pointers too)!

  • Bring really good walking shoes and if you are going in June, July, August bring REALLY good deodorant. It gets humid (and when I say humid-I mean it is like you took a shower in your own sweat-gross but true!).
  • Eat at Muriels, Jackson Square-worth the splurge.
  • Go in at least one Vodoo shop
  • Eat at Sucre!-You will want to order EVERYTHING!
  • Take a trip to the Garden District-this is where many of the celebrities live–and the homes are to die for! The downtown area is really cute. Lots of fun shops!
  • Cafe DuMonde-Beignets are a must! 
  • Eat at Mother’s. It is old and grungy but the food is good and cheap
  • There are children all around the French Quarter who tap, clap, and sing. Do not stop and watch–they will hassle you for money or worse yet…you could be pick pocketed. 
  • Trashy Diva is a fun shop you will find in the French District on Magazine Street.

Can’t take a trip to New Orleans this year?

Have your own Mardi Gras party at home! We did and it was a blast!

Here is a great recipe that I made tonight (we had an early celebration!)-it is a delicious dish and makes a 4 star restaurant quality meal!

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Chicken and Andouille Cajun Pasta

by: Cherry Blossoms {the blog}

3/4 box dry penne pasta

olive oil

2 tbsp creole seasoning/cajun seasoning

1 lb boneless chicken breast, 1-inch diced

3/4 lb andouille sausage, 1/4 inch slices

medium onion diced

small green pepper, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 C. water

1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomato (do not drain)

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Boil Chicken breasts (thawed) for 20 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside to let cool. In pan cook garlic until fragrant then add onion and peppers and cook until soft. Stir in chicken stock, water, can of tomato, cajun (or creole seasoning), sausage and thyme. (At this time put pot on stove with water and bring to a bowl-this is the water for your pasta).  Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till liquid reduces halfway. Shred your chicken breasts and then add to pot, stir in cream and continue cooking until sauce begins to thicken a little. Finish by adding pasta, basil, pepper to taste and parmesan. Put pasta in boiling water and cook for 11 minutes or till al dente (and then drain). Mix sauce and pasta together and serve.

Oh and don’t forget your Mardi Gras beads!

ella

 

Our THANKS to Kiley Smith and Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} for this great insight to New Orleans.

 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mummy is a Gadget Geek

From Mummy Gadget Geek:

Just wanted to let you know the Ergo Caboose arrived safe and well and has already been on several outings. My Mum’s partner (an engineer) says it kind of makes him want to go into pushchair design, he spent a long time examining how it all worked and marvelling at modern pushchair techniques!

Daphne loves the front seat and has had a couple of lovely sleeps in it, so it’s obviously comfy for her. She’s very excited when we get ready to go out and insists on climbing in herself. Sebastian thinks the ‘windows’ in the rear seat hood are amazing! And I am astonished that I managed to for a weeks worth of shopping in the basket.

 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Joovy Blogger Program 2013

Review Bloggers

Moms (and Dads) you’ve come to the right place to learn about the Joovy Blogging Program.  Joovy loves partnering with blogging professionals to review our products.  We also love to learn about you, your blog’s focus, your expertise and passions.

We’d love to learn why you want to blog about Joovy, our brand and products and how they fit with your blog. There’s just a little bit of information we require of you and it’s all listed below. Please tell us about your site and the traffic. This helps us determine which item is best for your blog. Samples are for review and giveaway only, not for resale.

Presently, we are looking for bloggers to review all Joovy products especially our newer introductions: moonRoom, Roo, TwinRoo, Spoon, Loo and StepTool.  Existing favorites are also available: Caboose Ultralight, Groove, Nook to name a few.  Take a visit to our website to see what product fits your family presently.

If one of the above products is of interest to you to review, please note this on your application with your color of preference.

Next step? We’ll visit your site and take a look at previous reviews you have done. If we feel that we have a good fit, you’ll be hearing from us.

The Joovy Blogging Program will serve you, your readers and fans of Joovy products with valuable information about our product features and cool new introductions and we look forward to working together.

Please submit your application only once. Thank you for your submission!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Joovy *Star*, Celeb & Expectant Mom, Christie Lynn Smith, Shares About Pregnancy Second Time Around & more!

Actress Christie Lynn Smith is best known for playing Deardra Farnum in the recent remake of the film “The Crazies.”  Her latest projects, include two feature films,  “Assumed Memories”, starring with Casper Van Diem and “The M Word” starring Frances Fisher due out 2013. She has also Recurred and Guest Starred on some the hottest TV shows such as Bones, NCIS, Justified, House, Weeds, 90210, Castle and General Hospital just to name a few….

Christie Lynn and her actor husband, John Fortson, are expecting their second child in early January.  We were grateful to spend time with Christie to chat about motherhood, being a working mom and pregnancy the second time around.

 Christie, can you tell me what you are working on currently?

I just wrapped Guest Starring on Paging Dr. Freed, a new comedy pilot for USA network. I play Karen, a pregnant woman who is 10 months pregnant and beyond livid that my doctor is sending me home when I am ready to POP! and want the baby out!  It was a blast! It’s very funny how life imitates art. I know in about 3 months I could feel the same way!  I got to work with Joel David Moore from Avatar again. We worked together a few years ago on a Ray Liotta film called Ticket Out and Annie Potts also stars in the pilot.

Christie Lynn, as an expectant mother of your second child due January 3rd, what is different about your pregnancy this time around? 

People always say you “POP” much earlier, and it’s true. I definitely started showing much earlier than with my first.  Right now it looks like a swallowed a basketball.

And it’s been harder to sleep this time around and for the first time the other night, I had heart burn! OH MY! I thought I was having a heart attack! I made John, my husband, get up and grab the pregnancy book… and sure enough it was heart burn! And I just heard that “heart burn” = “lots of hair on the baby’s head.” HA! I wonder if that is true! We will find out soon….

And I feel like this pregnancy is flying by, I’m really not sure where almost 7 months have gone. I’m sure it’s because I have a little girl to also take care of. We are constantly busy with so many things… I’m really trying to find the time to rest – much harder this time around.

What are you most looking forward to upon the arrival of this new bundle of joy?

I want to meet the little guy who has been kicking me all this time! It’s such an amazing experience to feel that sensation and kinda unbelievable at the same time… that a human is growing inside me. I still am in awe about that! I can’t wait to hold him and my arms and see his sweet little face and look into his eyes and smile and tell him I love him.  I’m also very excited to see the bond that Abby and the little guy will have. Abby’s is going to be an amazing big sister.

You and John are great parents to Abby Ryder.  How are you preparing her for her new little brother’s arrival?

We are including her in everything, from name picking to picking out clothes for him. We are taking her to the hospital where she was born for a “Big Kid’s Maternity Tour.” She will get to see where she was born and where this baby will be born. They talk with the kids about when mommy goes away for a couple days and they get to play with some pretend babies. It sounds very sweet.

We also have been talking to her about becoming a big sister and how important her role will be. She’s very excited about her baby brother’s arrival. She’s always kissing my belly, singing and talking to him. Abby’s an amazing girl. She’s so sweet, caring, smart, strong and playful.

And I have told her that she will always be mama’s baby girl no matter what!

How does work play into motherhood for you?  What is the secret to balancing family and parenthood?

Doing it all can be tough sometimes, but I love being a mom, wife and a working mommy. Sometimes I feel bad if I have to go to work to shoot a TV show or out of town to do a film, but I know I will be a better mommy if I continue following my dreams and my heart.  I love what I do, acting is in my blood and I hope to instill in Abby and my little guy on the way how important it is to continue to do what you love. I really talk to Abby about “quality time verus quanity” and I make an effort to give myself fully when I am off and not working. Also, I try to keep it in perspective. Family is the most important thing in my life, not working… and the memories I have with them will last a lifetime.

Are you planning on breastfeeding this time around?  If so, what do you like best about nursing your baby?

Yes! Breastfeeding your baby is so important if you can do it. I loved the bonding experience that it created between Abby and I.  She was rarely sick when she was little or now and I think it’s from breastfeeding.  I remember having to pump out of town when I shot a few films and carrying my breast milk through security at the airport… Having to take it out and have them “inspect it” was pretty funny!

Abby has been pretending to breastfeed her doll, Uda. I think she’s preparing for the baby coming and what I will be doing all day long…

As a Joovy Mom, how do Joovy products fit into your home life and your active family’s lifestyle? What product(s) are your favorite?

I love Joovy! I wish I had learned about Joovy when Abby was first born. Joovy’s products are all high quality while being functionable and stylish as well. They just seem to have thought of everything.

We have really enjoyed using the Cocoon! We pull it behind us when we go bike riding down by the beach.  It’s so nice to put the cooler in the back with Abby’s toys and ride for an hour and stop and picnic. Then we convert it into a jogging stroller and use it to go on walks or runs around the neighborhood.  Abby loves riding in it since she feels like she’s a princess in a carriage.

Abby LOVES her Bicycoo Balance Bike. She rides everywhere and has developed a great since of balance without ever using training wheels.  Which is great because I think Santa is bringing her a BIG girl bike this year. (Shhh… don’t tell her) We love the quality here again as it’s got real rubber tires giving her a smooth sturdy ride.

Abby also loves using the Joovy Toy infant seat, playroom and stroller. Her dolls Uda and Pom Pom (love their names!) have fun riding in the stroller and Uda is sleeping in the playroom now! The products are amazing and built just like the real thing!

We are excited about the Ergo Caboose Stroller that we get to use with the baby on the way. I love the large canopy it offers and the stand/sit feature for Abby so she can ride with her little brother. It’s just an awesome looking stroller as well.  Since my husband runs all the time he is going to love using the ZOOM jogging stroller! It’s super light and strong made from aircraft grade materials with super smooth wheels so your run isn’t interrupted by bumps.

Joovy just fits our life. We love them!

What’s up next for you?

Over the next few months we are in transition with our home. Making a playroom for Abby and baby to be, clearing out garage, getting ready for baby… very busy in that regard.

We are having a Baby Shower on October 21st at the COOP which is also benefiting a special charity.  As children of military parents ourselves, we are honored to join with the wonderful charity Celebrate the Military Child to acknowledge and support the Military child. These children make the unknowing sacrifice of living with brave parents and service members who fight everyday to keep our America free and preserve it as the great country it is.  To learn more about Celebrate the Military Child, visit www.cthemc.org

And best of all, we are so excited to welcome our little one into our family and share the joy with our friends and family. Cherish every moment…

Monday, 20 August 2012

Potty Training On the Go

If there were one aspect of parenting I would outsource, potty training would win hands down.  It’s hard, it’s messy, and it can take a really long time.

Well, just because you’re potty training your child, doesn’t mean that life as you know it has to come to a stop.  Here are a few tips that have helped us train our kids while getting out and still having some fun (because let’s face it, you’re earning it).

  1. Know that your kids are going to have accidents.  Just because they have 3 accidents in one day doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not ready to be potty trained, it may just mean that they need more help.  Don’t give up.  Potty training is a process, so it’s helpful to think in terms of weeks (or months), not days!
  2. Treat pull-ups like underwear, not diapers.  Really, they will save your life and allow you to leave the house.  Don’t use them all the time, but for outings, they can’t be beat.
  3. Always carry a change of clothes.  And I mean always.  For boys, nylon windpants are our favorites and leggings are great for girls.  Honestly, it doesn’t take much more room than a diaper and you’ll be grateful you have them!
  4. Go easy on your kids.  Potty training is really hard for them.  Would you want to stop playing with your toys to go to the bathroom?  It’s hard for them to understand why they need to do it, so be patient.  Remember, you need to work with your toddler to make this happen.
  5. Don’t become homebound.  The first few days of potty training are helpful to stay home, but eventually you need to get out.  With some kids, this means showing them where the toilet is every time you go somewhere new.  Other kids need you to carry their little in the back of the car because it’s so hard for them to go in a new place (Mason).  Be brave and go play, even if you are working on potty training.  I can guarantee that both you and your child will appreciate the break!

Remember, even though potty training is really hard, it will eventually be over.    Hopefully, you’ll be able to look back at this phase and laugh (or at least not cry anymore).

Good Luck!

Written by Jessica Averett from bring-the-kids.com

Joovy would like to add that we take potty training seriously and we invite you to check out our potty, the Joovy Loo.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Spring Cleaning ‘How To’ with Toddlers in Tow!

Spring is here!  Are you opening doors and airing out?  This blog post will hopefully give some pointers on how to approach spring cleaning, or cleaning any other time of the year with toddlers in tow.

Okay Mamas (and Dads) what do you do when you need to clean the house and  you’ve got a very active baby or young toddler hanging around? Pulling out cleaning supplies is stressful when you’ve got a little guy who loves to grab the dust brush, jump into the tub and wander into your kitchen — even if you have gates and have childproofed everything possible!  And don’t forget how toddlers “help” by pulling papers and toys onto the floor! Even if you are the master of childproofing, it’s hard to keep little ones safe when you’ve got to vacuum or mop…

So, what do you do?

We’ve come up with some tips to make it a little easier
1. Plan out what you are going to do first, second…and so forth.

2. Try to get as much done during nap time or after they’re sleeping at night (obviously this isn’t when you vacuum).

3. Have them “help” a little. If they can understand directions, they can help you pick up their own toys. Have large bins/baskets that they can easily put things into (and will help you organize their stuff).

4. In situations where you don’t want them helping, such as mopping or vacuuming, utilize your playard! Make sure there are soft toys inside and the sheet is clean and let him play! This way, your little one is safe, nearby, and you know they’re not getting into cleaning supplies or slipping on a freshly mopped floor.

Contributed by Nancy Johnson Horn a.k.a The Mama Maven
njhorn@aol.com

Monday, 26 September 2011

How to Run a 5K With Your Child in Tow

The right gear makes all the difference in running a 5K!

As parents, sometimes we don’t do enough for ourselves. With childhood obesity rates rising in America, the best thing we can do for ourselves to to set an example for our children. One way is to get off the couch and to run (or walk) a 5K race. You can even get your kids involved — by signing your older kids up for a shorter race or take a younger child along with you in a jogging stroller! If you are taking off, with child in tow, we have some recommendations.

1. Make your your child has good head control (babies should be over 6 months –I’d recommend over 8 months).

2. Be safe — if you are running (or walking on a straight path), lock the front wheel (wheels), make sure your child is snugly harnessed in, and loop the safety strap around one of your wrists.

2. Your child should be wearing sunscreen and sun/wind protective clothing. Make sure the sunshade is down and they keep cool. If its a really hot day, you may have to change your plans and go solo.

3. Make sure you have hydration for you and your child. Pack a small cooler, in an accessible part of the basket or in a parent console, with at least two cups or bottles for your child — you may be able to grab the open cups of water on the trail, but it’s going to be messy for your child.

4. Leave the heavy diaper bag in the car, take a large ziploc with a change of clothes, a couple of diapers, changing pad, wipes, and 1 outfit — in case you have to stop and change a diaper on the way.

5. Make it fun! Sing to your child, talk to him about what you’re seeing, have fun!

For jogging, Joovy’s got two models, the Zoom 360 and the Zoom ATS.   The Zoom ATS is a fixed front wheel jogger for serious runners, and the Zoom 360 is a swivel front wheel version for maximum

maneuverability.  If you want a rugged stroller that can also be used as a jogger and/or bike trailer, the new Joovy Cocoon is a great option.

Contributed by Nancy Johnson Horn