A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of Drinking for Two: A Collection of Nutritious Cocktails for the Mom-to-Be. Before I go any further, let me just say that NO, I am NOT pregnant. However, I know that a lot of my followers are new or expecting mamas and I like to make sure I'm providing useful information for everyone around here! Anyway, Drinking for Two was created by two dietitians who felt like moms-to-be deserved a book filled with delicious and nutritious mocktail recipes. The drinks are all plant-based and non-alcoholic, low in sugar, and easy to prepare. I've included a link at the end of the post so you can shop the book - it would make a great gift for a mom-to-be!
With the holiday season upon us, it's time for holiday parties, Thanksgiving meals, Friendsgiving celebrations, and everything else that comes with this joyful time of year. We've got parties and we're entertaining left and right. We're eating, we're drinking, and generally being overindulgent. But what happens when you can't (or don't want to) drink alcohol? It doesn't mean you have to be left out! I teamed up with Dr. Jenny Schell of Concierge Postpartum Care, and we made one of the delicious recipes from Drinking for Two, and chatted about all the different reasons why we might not drink on a particular day. You can check out our video here. Our answers ranged from pregnancy, to being on antibiotics, to being sensitive to those around you who cannot or do not drink, and to having to be up bright and early the next morning because your kids are still going to be up at 6 am (that's me!).
This drink is perfect for the holidays and would pair well with a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. It's got cranberry, citrus, and thyme. It's also got ginger, so if you're suffering from nausea during your pregnancy, this could be a good one for you! Plus, it's really tasty! Dr. Schell and I were very pleasantly surprised when we tried it.
So whatever your reason, mix up a couple glasses of this, and I promise you will be grateful in the morning!
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup 100% cranberry juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup seltzer
Additional thyme and cranberries for garnish
If you want to make a version with alcohol, I would add 2-3 oz of vodka to this!
This post has been sponsored by JOHNSON’S. All opinions are my own.
I get comments on Chloe’s hair all the time. “Those curls!” “She looks like Shirley Temple!” “That natural texture is gorgeous!” “Please don’t straighten her hair!”
When I first realized Chloe’s hair was curly, I was a little nervous, and actually in a little bit of denial. My hair has always been pin-straight and I always imagined a little girl with long, shiny straight hair. But once I realized how gorgeous her texture really was, I decided I would fully embrace her curls - however long they may last as her hair starts to grow out. Now those bouncy curls have every inch of my heart. I love to put my finger right into the middle of them because they are so perfectly formed and I can never believe how perfect they really are. Plus, I have come to realize that Chloe’s hair perfectly matches her personality!
When JOHNSON’S® announced their new haircare line for kids would include a formula for curly hair, I was so excited. I was already noticing that Chloe’s hair had outgrown the “baby” products offered and that she needed something much more specific for her changing hair. Their latest launch includes specialty haircare designed for a range of different kid’s hair types. They are gentle enough for developing hair and strong enough for the performance you and your kids need.
JOHNSON’S® Curl Defining formula has been such a wonderful product to use on Chloe’s hair. We use the shampoo every time we wash her hair, and I’ve noticed a difference in her curl pattern. And since it’s created by JOHNSON’S®, it’s still 100% gentle - free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes. And it still has that No More Tears benefit that we all love from JOHNSON’S®. We have also been using the Leave-In conditioner, formulated with shea butter, to help keep her curls moisturized and defined. It leaves her curls soft, not crunchy and hard, and it helps them keep their form all day long.
I love that JOHNSON’S is growing right along with my babies, and helping me to provide them with the best products for their individual needs. You can find these and all of JOHNSON’S® for Kids haircare products in the personal care aisle at your neighborhood Walmart, Target, or on Amazon.
*This post has been sponsored by HITN Learning. All opinions are my own.
In our home, one of the biggest pieces of heritage that we want to pass along to our children is the ability to speak Spanish. When Caleb was little, we spoke to him exclusively in Spanish. Over the years, between watching TV in English, starting school, and general laziness on my part, his Spanish has gone to the birds. I have some friends who have been so consistent with speaking to their kids in Spanish that they can hold all their conversations in both languages, and that’s truly what I hope to be able to work on with our kids. We’ve been making a much bigger effort to speak to them in Spanish, and we have already noticed a difference.
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by HITN Learning at Barnes and Noble, where I had the chance to speak with bilingual education advocate and TEDx speaker Dr. Mariana Díaz-Wionczek on how to raise bilingual children in today’s multicultural world. Mariana is a Hispanic mom, researcher, and academic. She has served as producer and Head of Education, Cultural Content & Research for several Nick Jr. productions including Dora the Explorer, Dora & Friends, and Go, Diego, Go!
I was able to chat with her one on one and I loved some of the information she gave me. Here are some of the tips she gave me and other parents there:
The Cleo & Cuquin Family Fun! Math Kits & App are a tool that we can utilize as parents to enrich our children’s learning experiences and encourage them to speak in Spanish. They offer engaging, child-centered bilingual print and digital materials, and hands-on activities. The kits focus on key math skills that create a strong foundation for Kindergarten learning. There are three math kits available: Counting, Sorting, and 3D Shapes.
We received the Cleo & Cuquin Family Fun! Counting Math Kit& App. Some of the skills it works on are counting to 10 and reading and writing numerals 0-9. The content in the kit is exciting and fun so it motivates kids to practice, and engages children through play, using manipulatives and digital content to reinforce essential skills. Caleb absolutely loves the app, and has started to understand it even when it is in Spanish mode. You can switch the app from Spanish to English, so it doesn’t matter what level your children are at. He also loves the game, especially when he wins (which he does almost every time).
As a former teacher, I really love that this kit addresses all kinds of learning styles and that it involves the parents. It’s not just your child sitting in front of an app and doing something independently - it requires you as the parent to get involved and practice your own Spanish! You can purchase one of these kits for your own children at Barnes and Noble. (Counting Kit, Sorting Kit, 3D Shapes Kit)
I love that Caleb is starting to become more interested in speaking Spanish and as long as he is trying, I’m going to continue to encourage him in any way I can!
Ever since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in third or fourth grade, I have devoured books about the World War II era. I find something about the time period so hauntingly beautiful. While there were so many awful things happening throughout Eastern Europe during the war, there was also so much humanity, resilience, and strength of human spirit. That's probably why I enjoyed The German Midwife so much.
The book takes place in Germany in 1944. Anke, a prisoner in the camps, does what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.
But when the Reich notices Anke's work, she is silently whisked away from camp and given a task more dangerous than being in a camp. Anke is assigned to be the midwife of Eva, a woman who is pregnant with the Führer’s child. Her family is threatened if she doesn't complete this task, so what is there to do?
The book weaves through Anke's story, bringing in a few kind characters to help Anke along this impossible journey, and reminding us that good and evil are not always black and white, and that gray areas do exist. Will Anke deliver this baby and keep it safe, furthering the cause of the Reich she so detests? Or will she sacrifice this child to help fix a broken world?
The German Midwife is a solidly told, well-written read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if World War II novels are something you enjoy, then I think this is something you will enjoy as well. I honestly couldn't put the book down and even sacrificed a good night's rest to read a couple more chapters (a decision I really regretted when the kids woke up at 5:45 am).
This post had been sponsored by JOHNSON’S®. All opinions are my own.
My word for the year this year has been to Simplify. While it’s not always at the forefront of my mind, I find myself making subconscious decisions all the time that help to simplify my life. One of those decisions was to start bathing the kids together.
With both of my kids, there are a few things that have always stayed consistent through their bath time routine. For one thing, bath time almost always comes after dinner. But as their needs change, the routine is adjusted and the products we use change. When Chloe was tiny, I would bathe her alone in a baby bathtub, but as she got older and sturdier, I started to bathe her with Caleb. I want bath time to be as easy as possible, so they go in at the same time, get washed up with the same products, and they come out at the same time.
Once they started bathing together, we made the switch to JOHNSON’S® Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo. This is something else that has helped me to simplify. It’s one product that works for everything from - you guessed it - their heads down to their toes. Head-To-Toe® Wash and Shampoo is an ultra-mild, gentle cleanser that is safe for a baby’s sensitive skin (and eyes). It’s also free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes, which was a big part of JOHNSON’S® renewed commitment to Choose Gentle. The pump bottle makes it easy for me to get the product out and onto the kids without having to pick up a slippery bottle, and the kids love to use it on themselves - even Chloe holds out her hand so I can put some in it and then she scrubs her belly.
JOHNSON’S® Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo really streamlines the bath time process, and when you’re in the middle of the crazy evening hours, one less step counts for a lot! Because it is such a great multi-purpose product, when we go on vacation, I make sure we always buy a bottle and we can all use it all over (including Mom & Dad)!
Another product that we have added into our routine, especially with all the drying activities of summer like swimming and sweating, is JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion. Their classic baby lotion is now made with coconut oil, and it keeps delicate skin soft, smooth and feeling healthy. Baby’s skin is nourished for 24 hours with this mild formula. It has the classic smell we all know and love but it has no parabens, phthalates or dyes. I keep this on Chloe’s changing table and after her bath, I make sure to apply some. The best part about it is that is absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave any unwanted residue, so my hands aren’t slippery or greasy afterwards (because it doesn’t leave a residue, this is actually what I use on myself, too!).
The great thing about these products is that they are really affordable, and you can find them anywhere, including online at Target.com or Walmart.com