Friday, December 23, 2011

Living in a Sugar Driven World Especially During the Holidays

We all like to indulge once in awhile - right? Maybe a little piece of chocolate, a cookie, and heck it's the holiday season so maybe all the above, everyday! In my house we don't keep many sweets "in stock", but we have been frequenting my mother's house since we've moved back to the Midwest. To clearly paint an accurate picture of her food selection it's like visiting a mini-carnival. Treats, cupcakes, twinkies, chips, cheetos, sugary cereals,  - a sugar haven for my husband who unfortunately is stricken by grief that I refused to make sugar cookies for the holidays. Hey, my daughter still has no idea what sugar or candy is and I am going to keep it that way as long as I can.

So how do you keep your child from the sugar madness at holiday parties and gatherings? For me, I carry raisins at all times. Apples with peanut is also a great runner up and let's not forget grapes. They are sweet, shaped like round candies (like peanut m&m's) that maybe everyone else might be eating. Trickery? Why yes, for now at least.

So let's hear from you -  what do you give your kids instead of the sugary treats during the holidays?

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Aresenic Juice, I mean Apple Juice.

Have you heard about the controversy with apple juice? I was sitting back, relaxing, putting my feet up today - just kidding I am a mother of a 17 month old and no longer know the meaning of relaxation. The truth is I squeezed in a few minutes of reading while my daughter was running around torturing the dog, but she was safe; promise.  In those few minutes I read an article in Health Magazine titled "Is Apple Juice Dangerous or Not?". My instant reaction was "shut the front door, another study resulting in more issues in our food - urg!". Plus I am a mom who gives her child apple juice frequently so my mom antenna automatically went to alert status red: danger!

To paraphrase the article, Dr. Oz did an independent analyze of 36 samples of five store-bought apple juice brands and released the results in September of this year. Roughly 27% of the the samples came back with higher concentration levels of arsenic than allowed in drinking water. Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) is fighting back and saying Dr Oz's accusations are "irresponsible" and the apple juice companies are also refuting the allegations. Now the real question is - is Dr Oz's study putting a magnifying glass on an over looked issue that that FDA and juice companies are trying to sweep under the rug?

Something else that is interesting - if you didn't already know - arsenic occurs naturally in soil and frequently shows up in our food and water. The FDA regulates arsenic levels here in the U.S, but the article reported that the majority of American apple juice are made from apples from other countries such as China, who may very well still use arsenic in their pesticides. There already has been quite a bit of controversy over the last year about lax FDA regulations on foreign produce and this might just be another case of that. The jury is still out.

It is also unsure what arsenic in our food and water does to our bodies over time, even if ingested in small doses. To me, arsenic is a dangerous chemical and there is no way I would pick up a bottle and take a sip, let alone willing allow my kids to ingest it. So what can you do to ensure your children are getting safe products? Start with buying organic apple juice made from apples raised in United States. Dr Oz also recommends that, in case you are a Dr. Oz fan. Plus if you are an avid reader of my blog, you would know that apples are on the dirty dozen list so try and make it a point to buy organic apple everything - sauce, fruit, juice, etc. No pesticides (or at least less) means more natural.

To add more fuel to the fire I found another article written in March 2010 on FoodSafetyNews.com stating the very same problem and they call out the companies in question. Take a look if you have time.

Well, like I said, the jury is still out on this subject, but I am going to bet we haven't heard the last of this. What do you have to say about all this?

Recommendations:
I posted this blog yesterday and didn't give any recommendations on good apple juices - sorry about that. I have a couple, one for sure and the other one I am still investigating.

Martinelli Organic Apple Juice - this is a fabulous product; tastes great! We just started drinking this brand in the last couple of months. It's both organic and made from US grown apples - Jackpot! The best part it's sold at major grocery chains. Click on the link and select store locater and find it near you.

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Juice - My husband and I drank this for years and Ellery had been drinking a watered down version for a few months prior to our switch to Martinelli's. It is produced in California and is organic, but the origin of the apples are in question. When I spoke to the company, they told me they sourced apples in the United States and "other countries". I am still waiting to hear back from their corporate office. I will make sure to update you all. It is a great product that tastes great, but I am not sure where the apples come from. To be continued...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Cold Remedy

Well here we go, the winter months. For some of you it might already be in the thick of cold weather and others of you are sitting pretty in 70+ degree weather all winter long. Regardless of your geographic location, the winter flu and colds make their way around the country. For my family we have a simple yet highly effective way to reduce the length of a cold and make sure a cold remains just a cold. Last year we were faced with an infant in daycare and without fail a cold turned into an ear infection. Then without fail, I got sick too. Double whammy! Well after 4 months of ear infections, I finally figured it out and the remedy really works! Colds stayed colds and we moved through them easier. VICTORIOUS!

Step One: Foot Hydrotherapy
This step is critical in healing faster and relieving respirtory congestion. Foot Hydrotherapy is a simpler treatment from constitutional hydrotherapy that optimizes circulation in the body, detoxifies and purfies the blood, and stimulates and enhances the immune system. There are different methods of Hydrotherapy, but this is by far the easiest for kids.

1. Soak your child's feet in warm water for 5 minutes (if child is young and especially under 12 months, skip this step)
2. Soak a pair of cotton socks in cold water, ring out water, and place on your child's feet. Cover the wet socks with dry wool socks or dry cotton socks if you don't have wool. Leave the cold wet socks on for 20-30 minutes. Turn on the TV or read them books to get them to sit down for 20 minutes.


Step Two:  Vitamin C, Echinacea & Elderberry
Hands down this is my favorite product, Sambu's Guard for Kids for my sick little one. This combination liquid vitamin consists of C, Echinacea and Elderberry. Vitamin C supports the body against daily stresses, while Echinacea is known to boost your overall immune system, and Elderberry extract helps support respiratory function and lungs - all of which your body needs while fighting off a cold or enduring the winter months. When my child shows symptoms of a cold I start using this immediately. I now carry a couple of bottles in the house at all times since I can't run down the store and pick it up any longer. Make sure your child is over 12months old before administering this supplement or consult your pediatrician.

Step Three: Clean out that nose!
Alright some kids won't let you use the little noses spray because they are kicking, screaming, and floundering around like a fish out of water. So in that case, turn the shower on in the bathroom, let it get really steaming and then go play a game in the bathroom with your child. That will move the mucus, but make sure you child does NOT have a temperature. Never steam a child who has temperature!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A daily mineral everyone in the family needs: Magnesium!

Alright, I have read about the benefits of omega's, vitamin D, vitamin C, but Magnesium, really? About a month ago, I received an email from Dr. Dale, founder & dean of the California College of Natural Medicine, about magnesium deficiency. I don't typically read every newsletter email I get,  but I was intrigued to learn more about magnesium since I didn't know much about it. While reading the article I noticed I had several of the symptoms for magnesium deficiency. That didn't surprise me because my eating habits have been sub par for the past couple of months since we started our process of moving across the country; though Ellery still eats extremely healthy.  Why can't I just eat what I serve my child? I guess that is another story another time.

If you don't know much about Magnesium, like I didn't, what I am about to layout for you might just blow your mind;at least it did for me. As I read more and more about the benefits and importance of Magnesium I was shocked I haven't been educated on it before! 

Why Magnesium? (In General)
The National Institutes of Health says, “Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis." That's a lot of functions and that's just a part of the list!

Here is the real kicker about magnesium - if you don't have enough magnesium in your body and you are taking other supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, etc., your body isn't getting the full value of those vitamins without having the correct amount of magnesium in your body. Think of it this way, magnesium is the foundation of your house of vitamins and minerals; without the correct foundation you can't build a strong stable house, no matter much you try.

Who needs it?
EVERYONE! Magnesium is a mineral your body needs for optimal health. And, unfortunately, the majority of Americans aren't coming close to their needed daily intake. The reason being: processed foods. As parents we know know life gets busy and it's easier to pop in a TV dinner or go through the drive through than take the time to cook a hearty meal full of protein, grains and veggies; which means we are getting the correct minerals and vitamins needed to maintain healthy - including the much needed magnesium. So much so, the National Institute of health reports that 60% of Americans are magnesium deficient and other experts report up to 80%.

Why you need it?
The Benefits of Magnesium for Children
  • Reduces hyperactivity (even those with symptoms of ADHD)
  • Aides with temper tantrums (terrible twos helper)
  • Helps children with Asthma (reduce swelling of airways)
  • Reduces stress/anxiety/depression

The best solution is to feed your children a well balanced diet of whole grains, greens, and fiber. Junk food depletes the body's magnesium storage. You can also add a multivitamin to your child's daily routine to support their balanced diet. Try Natural Vitality Kids Calm Multivitamin; it's all organic and is gives your body an extra punch of magnesium.

The Benefits of Magnesium for Parents (Us):
  • Reduces Stress & Anxiety (no parent ever get stressed, lol!)
  • Prevents osteoporosis/ bone loss
  • Prevents Heart Disease
  • Regulates high blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Treats migraines, insomnia, and depression
  • Aides in preventing diabetes (along with balanced diet)
  • Reduces PMS/Hormone Imbalance
  • Relieves chronic body pains/Fibramalgia
  • Increases bioavailability of calcium
  • Prevents and reverses kidney stone formation
  • Lowers serum cholesterol levels and triglycerides
  • Decreases insulin resistance
  • Treats asthma and emphysema
  • Helps make proteins
  • Encourages proper elimination

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency (Adults & Older Children): 

  • Body aches
  • Leg cramps
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Restless sleep
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle twitches
  • Chronic constipation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Severe PMS

How to Increase your Magnesium Intake
Remember changing your diet is always the better option than taking a supplement and talk to your doctor before making radical changes to your diet. But to get you started here are some magnesium rich foods to incorporate in your daily diet and recommended supplements:


Magnesium Rich Foods
  • Kelp
  • Green vegetables (like broccoli)
  • Whole-grain wheat, rice, oats, and ry
  • Almonds
  • Banana
  • Artichoke
  • Cashews
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Molasses
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Buckwheat
  • Peanuts
  • Beans, white, navy & black
  • Pecans
  • Tofu

Supplements
To learn more please vist:
http://www.nutritionalmagnesium.org

Eat healthy & Be well!!



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Amazing Contest - Win $245 Worth of Baby Products, IPad and More!

My Blog is apart of the 25 days of GiveAWayz hosted by Coupon Cabin. Here is the deal, just click on the link above [CouponCabin’s 25 Crazy Dayz of Giveawayz | Win $245 of Organic/Natural Baby Products, Enter Below! ] and be directed to my designated page and learn how you can enter to win the grand prizes by Coupon Cabin, then scroll down and see how you win  $245 worth of Organic/Natural Products for your Baby from Raising Kids Healthy, sponsored by Organically Cute.com and Julabug.com. Prizes include: $150 Gift Card to Julabug, Four Organic Bibs from Organically Cute & Baby Care Products (Shampoo, Lotion & Bubble Bath) by Dolphin Organics.This is a great gift for a friend or for your baby! Entering my contest is super easy.

 
And get this, at the bottom of the page, there are links to 95 other blogs who are running contests in addition to Coupon Cabin. Click on their sites and see what they are giving away and enter to win on their sites as well. You have a lot of chances to win some great stuff right before the holidays!
Good luck Everyone!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Easy Solution for Babies Who Won't Drink Milk From a Cup!

My daughter was bottle-free at 14 months old, but with that came a child who would no longer drink milk because it wasn't in her beloved milk shrine. She was a terrific milk drinker from her bottle, but as soon as I got rid of it all bets were off. She absolutely refused to drink milk from a cup; no matter how much I tried she just wouldn't do it. My only saving grace was she would drink anything else from a cup. So I just needed to find away to make her milk different enough that she would think it was something other than milk. That's when the light bulb went off - strawberries, her favorite fruit!! Take a little milk, add a little fruit and "Viola" a little fruit paradise in a cup. 

As a side note, after I had my epiphany with the strawberries, I tried buying the Horizon flavored milk and tested it out myself before giving it to Ellery. It was so sugary that I decided I was going to need to make this myself, and it's super easy. All you need is organic milk, organic strawberries (or your child's favorite fruit), and a blender:

1 c. Strawberries
1/2 c. Milk
Blend and serve

The goal is to use less and less strawberries over time. For my daughter it took two months before she would drink regular white milk at dinner from a cup without any strawberries.

Good luck, it does work!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Understanding Organic Food Labels

I was walking around the local grocery store picking up some odds and ends and I stopped at the applesauce - one of Ellery's favorites. I got looking at the organic applesauce verse the natural applesauce, primarily because the natural one was on sale. But I immediately start thinking "buy the organic - apples are on the dirty dozen list", but at the same time I am thinking, "seriously what is the difference between made with organic, organic, natural, etc." All of these labels have marketing written all over it. And trust me, I spent 10 years marketing, so I get it. Well, I did a little digging around and found out some interesting information on this topic. Here is the short of the long of it.

Organic
"Organic" - Products must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients and will carry the USDA seal on the package "Made With Organic Ingredients" - Products consist of at least 70% organic ingredients and must follow the USDA production standards. The USDA label can not be used on the packaging.

"Some Organic" - Any products that have 70% or less organic products, can not use the word organic in their packing, but they can call out the organic ingredients used on the ingredient list

Natural
To me this is hands down the most confusing. Packages that state "Natural", "100% Natural, and "All Natural Ingredients" is actually misleading because it isn't unregulated by the USDA unless it is meat or poultry according to the Food Marketing Institute.

The term "Natural" applies broadly to foods that are minimally processed and free of synthetic preservatives; artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and other artificial additives; hydrogenated oils; stabilizers; and emulsifiers. Most food labeled natural are not subject to government controls beyond the regulations and heath codes that apply to all foods. So the term natural is loosely used.

Even though the USDA regulates the term "natural" with meat that only means the meat doesn't contain artificial ingredients or added color and is minimally processed - it has nothing to do with how the animal was raised. Minimally processed means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as "no artificial ingredients; minimally processed"). Animals can be given hormones and antibiotics, except poultry - FDA regulates that one, and still claim "Natural" on the label. So if you can't find organic meats, look for labels that say "raised without the use of hormones and antibiotics"

All in all, "Natural" really doesn't mean much more than the product doesn't have added preservatives and isn't regulated. If you want to know for sure you are buying natural food, stick with products that have the USDA seal of approval on it - or look very closely at the ingredient label!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Babies That Read - Hype or Hoopla?

Have you heard of the program "Your Baby Can Read"? One of my best friends told me about this when my daughter was two months old. I thought, sure why not, I will give the program a whirl. I watched the infomercials and YouTube videos of babies reading and remember thinking "really?". So, I bought the program and started Ellery on it when she was three months old.  She watched one video for about a month, two times a day, with a total of five videos in seven months. At ten months old, she could recognize the words and point to the correct word.

video
The videos taught her basic words like: Hi - Car - Animals - Pets, and classic children's songs like the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Row Row Row Your Boat. Then before Ellery went to bed, we  read her favorite children's books (and still do) along and one of her program's book which reviewed the words from the video. If anything she seemed to really like it, but can you call this reading?

The Today show did an investigative report on this in November 2010 and the top University's all agree this isn't reading, but rather memorization. You are shown the same words over and over again and before you know they are recognizing the words and even "reading" them. This is exactly what my daughter did and by twelve to thirteen months when her vocabulary really kicked in she was actually "reading" the words to us.
video

I do have to agree with the Universities. This is memorization rather than reading because there is no phonics involved. But, I do think the program helped Ellery accelerate her learning and understanding of concepts faster.  I can't prove that since this might just be who she is, with or without  my help or any program. But, I do know she can tell you almost every part of the body (taught to her by the program), count up to ten (that's me), and talk mini sentences "Come On", "Down Please" "Just a minute" (my short phrases around the house)- by 14 months.

Only time will tell if this program will prove to be a valuable reading foundation for the future until then we continue to read her favorite children's books everyday because she loves them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"The" Reference Book To Help Parents Raise Naturally Healthy Kids - A Must Buy!!

How many of you have had a sick baby? Or better yet a sick baby along with sick older siblings and you too? Not much fun, I know! Now, I can't tell you how raise your kids in a germ-free bubble, but I can share with you an amazing resource I found that teaches you how to keep kids healthy before they get sick and what to do naturally if your child does get sick. This is especially important now that school is back in session and our little ones are back to sharing germs!!

So about six months ago, I stumbled upon a book that changed the way I cared for Ellery when she got sick. Now mind you, she is only 14 months old and I have always been reluctant to use homeopathic remedies on her because I wasn't sure what her reaction would be, so I trusted my MD. And, as much as I love my MD, he eventually just gave her antibiotics, after antibiotics and I needed that to change. I am not an MD by any stretch but from what I have read and researched your body can create an immunity to antibiotics if taken regularly and your body suppresses the illness making you more susceptible to get sick again. That is what happened to us, for five months straight. Every month around the same time Ellery got a cold and without fail it turned into an ear infection - like clockwork, amazing!

But that all changed after I bought the book Your Vital Child, A Natural Healing Guide for Caring Parents by Mark and Angela Stengler. After I bought it, Ellery had two more colds. I used some the recommended remedies and both colds remained a cold with NO ear infections. VICTORIOUS!! So if you ask me this is a must buy for any parent and you can snag one at Amazon.com for $2.50 - used of course. I can't help that Ellery picks up germs but I can sure help her body heal when she does. 

Disclaimer: Always consult your homeopathic practitioner or MD before giving your child herbs or medications.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Produce Worth Buying Organic - The Dirty Dozen

Did you know there are certain fruits and veggies grown in heavy pesticides and others not so much? When I first got my hands on the list of heavily treated produce I was bummed because it was all of my family's favorite foods and at the time I wasn't buying it organic. To me produce was produce and I just bought whatever. But that all changed...

So here is the deal; the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research organization, did a study researching the level of pesticides used to raise conventionally grown produce. They found there are 12 foods, known as the Dirty Dozen, grown with the highest level of pesticides - resulting in high exposure for those who ate these fruits and vegetables. They reported that you could cut down on your pesticide exposure by 90% if you ate fruits and veggies using minimal pesticides rather than eating the Dirty Dozen. Did I mention that the Dirty Dozen are hands down my family's favorite produce, so that was not going to happen. So I made the decision to buy these items organically to avoid the "high level" pesticide exposure. But I say that lightly, because I am well aware that even farmers of organic produce are allowed to spray their crops with natural pesticides, but to me a little is better than a lot. Here is the list that changed the way I shopped for produce:

"DIRTY DOZEN" - Buy This Produce Organic!

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Peaches
4. Grapes (imported)
5. Nectarines
6. Blueberries (domestic)
7. Celery
8. Spinach
9. Sweet Bell Peppers
10. Greens (Kale and Collards)
11. Lettuce
12. Potatoes

The EWG also states "Eat your fruits and veggies even if you don't buy it organically;  the benefits outweigh the pesticide exposure."


"CLEAN 15 "  - Buy Non Organic, if you want!
Based on the EWG's research the "Clean 15" are fruits and veggies grown with the least amount of pesticide influence. Here they are:

1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Asparagus
4. Sweet Peas
5. Eggplant
6. Cabbage
7. Sweet Potatoes
8. Mushrooms
9. Pineapples
10. Avocados
11. Mangoes
12. Cantaloupe (domestic)
13. Kiwi
14. Watermelon
15. Grapefruit





No Matter What (Organic or Non-Organic)- Clean Your Fruits and Veggies

Regardless if you buy organic or non organic produce, do yourself a quick favor and clean it. Because no matter what that produce has been picked by someone (hopefully not picking their nose at the same time), boxed, shipped, unpacked, placed on the grocery shelf, and possibly even subjected to abuse from a couple of kids roaming the grocery store living out their dream of being jugglers while their mother shops. So again, give it a wash. We use something that can be purchased at your local health food store: Veggie Wash. It's all natural and removes dirt, soil and wax using organic citrus.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's Really In Your Care Products - Shampoo, Lotion, ETC.

Here is the nice thing, the FDA requires all food and care product companies to list their ingredients on the outside of the package. But, do you have any idea what they are? Heck, I can't even pronounce some of the ingredients with their 26 letters looking way too Latin for my brain to handle. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? Boy, I hope so, otherwise I am feeling really silly right now.

Well for people who are like me, and have no idea what some or all of the ingredients are in their products, check out The Cosmetic Database. This is an amazing tool that tells you how hazardous (or not) a product is for you and for your children.

This is how it works:
First, The Cosmetic Database ranks the product on an overall score 0-10. The lower the number the better! Then each ingredient is ranked based on the same scale and describes the reason the ingredient has that rating.

For this article purpose, I evaluated Ellery's Aveeno Eczema lotion - which got a FOUR! I am not happy about this at all. When I found out her lotion was a whopping four, I wanted to know why. I clicked on the product and found that there were a handful of "bad" ingredients, ranking as high as six, outweighing the other 10 good ingredients.  The bad ingredients where ranked high because of their toxicity to the body. Here is what the database had to say about a couple of the top "bad" ingredients:

"STEARETH-20 - Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Ecotoxicology, Data gaps, Contamination concerns (ETHYLENE OXIDE, 1,4-DIOXANE), Use restrictions"

"BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE - Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Use restrictions"

Time to get back to the drawing board and find her another product to use!!

Definitely take a look at this database; it's a great tool! The only downfall is it doesn't list every product available on the market, but it has a lot. Have fun digging around - it's addicting!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Organic Baby Food Options - What are the best first foods?

This is a hard question, there a ton of baby food brands out there, but for me I went with a brand I trusted and could easily get at the local health food store. I didn't have time to make baby food and store it so I was on the hunt for good quality food already jarred.

Since Ellery was an organic formula kid I wanted to offer her organic baby food as well;  keeping her body free from unnecessary chemicals as much as possible. I ended up using Earth's Best Baby Food since I was already using their formula (and trusted their brand), but along the way I found some first finger foods that Ellery loves too. Actually, even now that she is 14 months, she still eats these snacks every day. Here is what I use and recommend:


Organic Baby Cereal by Earth's Best
The first food is typically cereal and  Earth's Best has great cereal. We started with their oatmeal and moved into their multi-grain cereal. Ellery still has that daily. It has 50% of her daily iron in one serving!

Where to buy: Babies R Us, local health food store, http://www.diapers.com/


Organic Baby Food - 1st Foods and 2nd Foods by Earth's Best
Another favorite of ours is Earth's best jarred foods. This is convenient because you can purchase this at BabiesRUS or your local health food store. I actually purchased this from Diapers.com. I love that site! They have amazing deals if you buy in bulk. Especially if you have picky eater who only eats sweet potatoes - you will certainly buy  flavors in bulk!!

                           Where to buy: Babies R Us, local health food store, http://www.diapers.com/


Organic Baby Puffs - by Plum
Good for breakfast, good for snacks, and watch out dad might steal some too. I don't know why but my husband loves my daughters food. I catch him in the pantry all of the time nibbling on her food! The best part about these puffs is they are a mix of veggies and fruit so they are getting the good stuff while they are snacking.

Where to buy: Babies R Us, local health food store, http://www.diapers.com/






Organic Yogurt Melts - by HappyMelts
This is hands down my daughters' favorite snack, still to this day. They are freezed-dried yogurts that are super easy to carry in your purse for a quick snack. They are also a great source of calcium if your child is milk adverse - like my daughter. They do have some organic sugar in it, but not much.

Where to buy: Babies R Us, http://www.diapers.com/, hard to find at local stores, though request them and sometimes the health food store will pick them up.


Alright, now what do you think? Do you have any favorite first baby foods that are organic that you highly recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Healthy Recipe - Breakfast Crepes that Kids Love

Here is my family recipe for healthy crepes. It is so simple to make, taste great, and healthy. My one year old LOVES them. Don't forget to add the almond extract its the key ingredient that makes these tasty enough to eat without powdered sugar or syrup.

Almond Breakfast Crepes
3/4 Cup Wheat Flour
1 Egg (in egg whites)
1 TBS Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Baking Soda
1 Cup Almond Milk* (Vanilla gives it a little more sweetness and kick)
1 TBS Honey
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries (or any berries that are in season)

* If you use regular Almond Milk, add 1/4 tsp of Vanilla to to the mixture. If you use Vanilla do NOT add the vanilla

Add all ingredients together and mix well. Heat frying pan to a medium/hot. Add a small amount of batter and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remember crepes are thin, but we make them thick sometimes too.

Cut up the fresh strawberries and place on top of your cooked crepe. ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Best Baby Sunscreen - Finally My Baby is Six Months Old, Let's Party Outside

Alright, it's time for the big reveal. Our little fair skin child is six months old and ready to enjoy the California Sun. My husband and I love the outdoors so we were itching to get Ellery all ready for a day in the park. Of course with a hat and proper sunscreen and clothing. Before being six months old we were very hesitant to take her outside because of her glow in the dark skin...kidding. Actually, my husband and I be  like this even if she had olive skin liked her father.

Anyways, back to it. Before the big day arrived, I was doing a ton of research on which sunscreen was best to use. I wasn't about to just use anything on her because our skin is our largest organ and whatever we put on it skin gets absorbed in our body.YIKES! The goal - light on the chemicals. With that being said, the sun screen winner in my book is.....



CALIFORNIA BABY - SUPER SENSITIVE (of course)

A little goes a long way, so don't be scared off by the price. It has ZERO fragrance, no chemicals, and PABA free. This one is worth a try!

This sunscreen also ranks on the to list of the EWG's Skin Deep list, for the full list check out: The Sunscreen List

Work or Not To Work - That was the Question

My plan was go back to work when Ellery was three months old - even though I can say that time-frame never felt right.  But when Ellery was 2.5 months old, I stopped into my place of employment and sat across from the CEO, my boss, with my little one and started to cry. Yep, bucket tears. I told him, "I know I said I would come back at three months, but I am not ready".  He was completely gracious and understanding. He started his business when his kids were young and built it into a what it is today - a multi-million dollar organization, but I know he missed out on a quite a bit of their childhood working 80 hours a week. Needless to say he completely understood and respected where I was coming from. He said to go home and be creative and figure out how you can make this work. So I did. For the next three months I worked from home part-time and went into the office one day a week with the understanding I would be back to the office full time when Ellery was six months old. I was always busy, but it was nice to be home with Ellery.

Then six months hit. I was going back to work right after the winter holidays. About a week or two before I went back to work, the water works started. Every time I thought about going back, I started balling; not just crying, but expelling all the water in the body to the point of dehydration. OK, I exaggerating at little  but hopefully that is visual enough to understand my heartache. This was the hardest decision for me; I thought I had to go back for the money, but I didn't want to. My heart wasn't in it. I know you all dont' know me well, but I was a ball breaking man when it came to work. I loved being successful and wanted to keep moving up - with the hopes of started my own business one day. So it was a shock to EVERYONE when I had a change of heart and didn't want to go back to work.

But here I was going back...

Things at the office changed. There was a cloud of negativity floating around and I hated it. Why was I dealing with this poo when I could be at home enjoying life with my daughter? And maybe just maybe start working on my dream of starting my own business? This was my thought every day for months. Plus on top of this, Ellery was in daycare and experiencing sickness after sickness being around other kids. Don't get me wrong we have an AMAZING in-home daycare, but the reality is when kids are around other little ones who get sick their immune systems aren't strong enough to ward it off. And the real kicker was, every time she got sick,  I got sick. I don't know how that was possible but without fail it happened. No matter how many vitamins I was taking, I was going down if she came home with something.

So after six months of dealing with her getting sick all of the time and me not wanting to be there any longer, I did it, I left. YIPEEE!!!!!! I finally took the leap of faith to stay home with Ellery and start my own business. I am living my dream....home with my daughter and building my business...life is good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Senstive Skin - Choosing the Best Shampoos and Lotions

Having a baby with sensitive skin can leave you leaving the life of a private investigator. You have to go through all of the clues to figure out what is causing the problem. In my case, Ellery starts out with irritated skin then I immediately run down the list of possibilities in my mind. Is it the detergent, soup, maybe daddy's cologne? The possibles are endless, but you start with one and phase it out until you find the culprit causing the problem.

Ellery was born with the fairest skin ever - everyone says she is a red head (strawberry blond to be exact). I am still waiting to see if that holds true. But at any rate, she sure has the skin of a red head. The doctor told us not use Johnson and Johnson baby products - and man was he right. We use twice maybe and saw the flare up on her skin immediately. Well after doing some digging around, I found out why. There are a ton of ingredients in Johnson and Johnson skin products that I would never want to use on my new born - example alcohol and parabens.

So here is what I found:



Burt's Bee's baby wash and it is great 98.7% natural and organic, and honestly that was the best I could find - and you can find it most major grocery stores.  I was happy with considering the alternative products out there. BUT note to self, do NOT use their buttermilk brand on sensitive skin/eczema babies. Milk based products are horrible for kids with eczema. Trust me, we learned the hard way.




Speaking of eczema, Aveeno is hands down the best product I have found thus far for eczema. I have used natural brands from health stores, but nothing works as best as Aveeno. Now, Aveeno isn't all natural or organic, so mom's if you have found something, please post it. Aveeno does get good ratings, but again it's not perfect in terms of being all natural.





Dolphin Organics - This is a new company and I have tested their product and it's great!! It does not irritate Ellery's skin and it is 100% natural - YES! That is what I have been searching for - 100%. Because they are a new company you can't find their product in stores (unless you are on the east coast, there are few stores carrying it) - only online right now. http://www.dophinorganics.com/. Check them out. The lotion is great too. I use it on myself, but Ellery still needs the extra support from eczema lotions.


Have you tried something else that is natural that you love? If so, let's hear about it. :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sanity Check - Buy the book " What to Expect in the First Year"

Our first doctor appointment was a month after Ellery was born, but I am not going to lie, I was ready to take her in the office every time something came up in that first month. THANK goodness for "What to Expect in the First Year" - if you are a new mom and don't have this book, get it!!

Being a new mom was scary to me. I knew how to take care of myself, but a baby, not a chance. Well, let me rephrase, I knew how to love, feed, and change diapers but that was it. I had no idea how to apply my methods of care to a child, nor did I trust my methods for a 7lb human.

Did you know that your baby has to process your hormones through thier body after you give birth? Maybe  that is common knowledge and I wasn't prepared, but I had no idea. When Ellery was a day or two old, she even passed blood from her privates, I completely flipped a lid..running for the phone to call the doctor when my husband talked me off the ledge for a second. I got the book and read that is totally normal. PHEW! My best friend had all boys and had no idea what was going on, so no comfort there, so I as very greatful for the reference book.

Then a few months later I found a breast cyst. Seriously? Yes, but I have had breast cysts since I was 12 years old, and now my daughter has them. Again my hormones and completely normal. Her body was processing out my hormones and it took a good 6-8 months to finally get them out - again mentioned in the book. And in that process, she actually got pretty bad acne too. Poor thing! Well now that process is over...YES!

For me the book was a sanity check for me!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Diapers - Disposals or Cloth?

Alright, hands down cloth is 1000x's better for the environment and I have to admit this is the one place where I didn't do the best thing for the environment. I use disposable diapers. I know, I know, but Ellery started daycare at three months and I daycare won't allow it. OK, I am being honest, I was lazy and didn't want to deal with it so I took the blind eye approach. But I did a ton of research on this and the found out that ONE diaper takes 500 years to decompose. Yep, 500 years! But even knowing this it wasn't enough for me to not use disposable. Maybe something needs to change about that? Hmmmm....

BUT, like I said I did a ton of research on compostable diapers, cloth diapers, and the combo diaper - known as the G Diaper. Here is my review of this based on my testing and research:


G Diaper: This is a great diaper, but man it is bulky. My daughter inherited my bubble butt, so with her genetic disposition for tight pants, it was hard to use the G diaper; but I found that it was pretty easy to dispose of her mess after she used it. If she was just going to sport the diaper and not wear it under pants, it worked perfectly, but that wasn't enough to hook me. I never finished using them, I ended up giving my remaining inserts and diapers to a friend who is having a baby.




Cloth Diapers: I never did use cloth diapers, so for all of you moms out there who used them - I pose the question to you:  How easy is it really? I did do some research on it and found for $100-$150.00 a month I could have a diaper service come to the house and drop diapers and take the dirty ones. You just had to rinse out the poo and store them for the month. Now can you do this when your kid is in daycare? This is a serious question - I have no idea. So I passed on this option.

Compostable/Biodegradable Diapers: Alright I found another company, Bamboo Nature, who was the most helpful company I have come across in my research. I will say that I never did use their diaper, but I got an amazing email from their staff helping me understand how diapers decompose and why its good and bad. Their diaper works like a typical Huggies Diaper and can be thrown away. The only downside is the cost. If anyone has used them, write a review. I will tell you that they are amazingly smart and informed. If you every want to read the email they sent me about this...shoot me an email. I will pass it along.



And the fact is all of these options are still more expensive. But is the expense worth the impact? It shouldn't be but as I said before I didn't go down this path.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Organic Snap Baby Bibs - Teething at Two Months, Really?

Could this be right? Could my daughter really be teething at two months old? I had no idea and my doctor poo-poo'ed me a little bit so I was just going with my gut on this one. But, sure enough I was right; even inexperienced moms have a clue sometimes, LOL! But seriously, I had never seen a child drool so much. It was like a pipe burst under the sink and the plumber couldn't get it turned off. OK, I know that sounds extreme, but believe me when I say that is the God honest truth. Ellery is a drooler and it hasn't stopped yet.

To step back, I am a little slow on getting my posts up on my journey. My Ellery is a year old, but I am hopeful I can get my fingers and brain working fast enough to bring this blog up to speed very quickly.

Back the drooling machine. What I soon found out was Ellery was plowing through a typical terry cloth bibs in a hour or two during her peak teething days. There were some days when I would get my bag back from daycare with 4-5-6 bibs soaked completely through. I didn't really find any bibs at the big stores (target, babies r us) or boutiques that was absorbant enough for this little girl. She gets this from me. When I was a teenager and at the orthodontist one day, the hygienists said, are you a bad kid? I said "No I dont' think so", though my mom would beg a differ, I am sure. I proceeded to ask her why and she said you have so much saliva and from what I have seen a lot of saliva means bad kids. WHAT? Who says that?

Anyways, I actually started sewing my own bibs that were cute, fun, bold, absorbant and ORGANIC. And recently, I have taken the bibs commercial; which is super exciting. I left my job in June to make a career out of this. Wish me luck!! But seriously if you have a drooler and want a bib that is organic, absorbent, and made from designer fabric, I ask that you just check it out : http://www.organicallycute.com/. I swear this will be my only plug for my bibs. And trust me, I have other brands of bibs too, especially for eating. Don't get me wrong Ellery wears her drool bibs to eat sometimes, and they wash up great, but Green Sprouts has a GREAT plastic bib that washes right off. Highly recommend those as well. My only advice living through this is make sure the bibs are snap bibs - otherwise the baby will just rip them off.

So the moral is, yes your baby can cut teeth super early, and your precious girl can be the biggest spitter you have seen. And make sure you find a bib that really works and remember there are options to get GREEN/ ORGANIC bibs for your drooly chewy baby!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Start as a Healthy Mom - Choosing Organic Formula

I had my daughter a year ago, and from the start I was challenged with what formula to give my daughter. I wasn't the women who had an "easy" time with breast feeding. I tried for six weeks, but I couldn't get enough to sustain a healthy diet for my daughter. It was very frustrating and completely emotional. Let me say first, that if you have never heard of Fenugreek, it truly does work. Fenugreek helped me produce more milk than I was doing naturally. I went from pumping 1oz to 3oz a time. To me that was huge, but still not enough, so formula was my saving grace.  Before my daughter was born, I did some research and read A TON of reviews and decided to go to with Earth's Best Organic Formula with Iron. I knew I wanted to go with organic to try and get her the best substitute for my milk. BTW, Hands down the best place to buy this is http://www.diapers.com/. I haven't found better prices plus the cans were 25% more. DEAL!

I should say that before I had Ellery, I have been reading about healthy alternatives for food. When I was younger I hate HORRIBLY. I loved fast food, pizza, pot pies, corn dogs, anything fried and processed was on my hit list. Thank goodness that I had a great metabolism because I should have been over weight with all of the junk that I ate. As I have gotten older, I have tried to find healthy ways to have the foods that I love, but to be honest, those "carnie" additions still reside in me, and I didn't want to pass those habits to my daughter. I believe your body is your temple and I want to teach her to respect and love her temple.

At any rate, this blog and posts are going to be about what I have learned along the way. And maybe I can teach you, the reader, a little along the way. My goal is not to be preachy, because ultimately only you can decide what is the right choice for you and your family. This is 100% my experience. Enjoy the journey...