Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

Link: Big List of Toddler Art Gift Ideas

I’m busting it trying to find low cost, personal gifts this year for my family and close friends. I came across this list at The Crafty Crow, and thought it was worth sharing.

Since my shelves and refrigerator are filling up with tiny masterpieces, what better way to cut some clutter and gift them? Homemade gifts are so much more personalized that store bought in my opinion. I’ve already matted and framed some of her art, but many of these ideas are new to me.

I’ve also purchased a few canvasses from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale and let her paint them. I could go on for days about how much she loved painting these. I picked out colors that matched her room and let her paint, using one color at a time. We let each color dry for about a day so the colors didn’t get all muddled. After she was finished I sprayed it with a matte acrylic spray and we hung it in her room. She is super proud! I’ve had several family members ask for her to paint a canvas for them in the colors of certain rooms in their homes. More Christmas gifts done!

I love the idea of making a portfolio book, maybe in a few years when she’s amassed a variety of projects, and she can see her progress. Read the full list here from The Crafty Crow.

Photo credit to Lodewijk van den Broek

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Best Of, Homemade Crafts, links, , , , , , , , , ,

Infant Entrapment and Suffocation Prompts Stork Craft to Recall More Than 2.1 Million Drop-Side Cribs

From the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc., of British Columbia, Canada, today announced the voluntary recall of more than 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs, including about 147,000 Stork Craft drop-side cribs with the Fisher-Price logo. The recall involves approximately 1,213,000 units distributed in the United States and 968,000 units distributed in Canada.

CPSC urges parents and caregivers to immediately stop using the recalled cribs, wait for the free repair kit, and do not attempt to fix the cribs without the kit. They should find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free repair kit that converts the drop-side on these cribs to a fixed side.

The cribs’ drop-side plastic hardware can break, deform, or parts can become missing. In addition, the drop-side can be installed upside-down, which can result in broken or disengaged plastic parts. All of these problems can cause the drop-side to detach in one or more corners. When the drop-side detaches, it creates space between the drop-side and the crib mattress. The bodies of infants and toddlers can become entrapped in the space which can lead to suffocation. Complete detachment of drop-sides can lead to falls from the crib.

CPSC, Health Canada, and Stork Craft are aware of 110 incidents of drop-side detachment; 67 incidents occurred in the United States and 43 in Canada. The incidents include 15 entrapments; 12 in the U.S. and three in Canada. Four of the entrapments resulted in suffocation: a 7-month-old in Gouverneur, N.Y.; a 7-month-old in New Iberia, La.; a 6-month-old in Summersville, W.Va.; and a 9-month-old in Bronx, N.Y. Included in these incidents are 20 falls from cribs; 12 in the U.S. and eight in Canada. Fall injuries ranged from concussion to bumps and bruises. The cribs involved in these incidents had plastic drop-side hardware that had broken, missing, or deformed claws, connectors, tracks, or flexible tab stops; loose or missing metal spring clips; stripped screws; and/or drop-sides installed upside-down.

This recall involves Stork Craft drop-side cribs and Stork Craft drop-side cribs with the Fisher-Price logo. This recall does not involve any cribs that do not have a drop-side. This recall does not involve any cribs with metal rod drop-side hardware. It involves only those cribs with plastic trigger and one-hand-system drop-side hardware.

This recall includes Stork Craft cribs with manufacturing and distribution dates between January 1993 and October 2009. This recall also includes Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo that have manufacturing dates between October 1997 and December 2004. The Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo were first sold in the U.S. in July 1998 and in Canada in September 1998. The cribs were sold in various styles and finishes. The manufacture date, model number, crib name, country of origin, and the firm’s name, address, and contact information are located on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board. The firm’s insignia “storkcraft baby” or “storkling” is inscribed on the drop-side teething rail of some cribs. In Stork Craft cribs that contain the “Fisher-Price” logo, this logo can be found on the crib’s teething rail, in the manufacturer’s instructions, on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board, and on the end panels of the Twinkle-Twinkle and Crystal crib models.

Major retailers in the United States and Canada sold the recalled cribs including BJ’s Wholesale Club, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Meijer, Sears, USA Baby, and Wal-Mart stores and online at Amazon.com, Babiesrus.com, Costco.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com from January 1993 through October 2009 for between $100 and $400.

The cribs were manufactured in Canada, China and Indonesia.

For additional information, contact Stork Craft toll-free at (877) 274-0277 anytime to order the free repair kit, or log on to http://www.storkcraft.com

Read this recall in its entirety on CPSC site.

Filed under: Family, Recalls, , , , ,

Steamed Parmesan Carrots and Parsnips: Beaba Babycook Recipe

I also have a puree version of this recipe here for younger babies. Beaba Babycook fans, I know you’re out there!! I’m working on a page listing all of the Babycook recipes so check back soon. Thanks for visiting! If you have a Beaba Babycook recipe you’d like to share, please let me know by emailing me at vanillapumpkin at ymail dot com. Thanks so much!

Ingredients

  • One carrot, washed, peeled, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of parsnip (about a quarter of a parsnip) , washed, peeled, sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 tbs parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Place sliced carrot and parsnip in steaming basket of Beaba Babycook, or steam them in a steamer, or place them in the microwave in a bowl of water or chicken broth for about 10 minutes. If you’re using your Babycook, fill the water reservoir.
  2. Remove veggies, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and serve!

 

Filed under: Babycook, Carrots, Parsnips, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , ,

100k playspaces in 100 days

How great would it be to have an online resource of playgrounds and playspaces online at your fingertips?!?

KaBOOM! is parterning up with non-profits across America to encourage families to get out and play. Their web site is full of resources and reasons why we should be encouraging our children to play:

Too many kids are missing one of the most important childhood experiences—play. It can help kids grow to be healthy, happy, and successful through an experience full of creativity, exploration, physical activity, friendship, and adventure. The experience is play.

KaBOOM’s current major initiative is to map all of the playscapes in America, and has partnered with Julianne Hough to achieve this goal. Julianne is donating $1 to one of nonprofits listed partering with KaBOOM to build this resource. You can joing one of the “teams” and for each playspace you add, Julianne will donate $1 to your cause. It’s a win-win!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Family, News, , , , , , , ,

Third Frame Mobile – Kids Finger Painter

Cool little iPhone app Kids Finger Painter by Third Frame Mobile is an easy to use paint program for kids. It even has etch-a-sketch type properties in that if you shake the iPhone or iPod Touch, the canvas clears.

screenshot 2 - color chooserscreenshot 4 - stamp chooserscreenshot 1 - painting canvas

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Family, Reading, , , , , , ,

Eco-Friendly Shoes for First Steps

 

When Baby K started pulling up and cruising around our furniture last month, my heart skipped a few beats when I realized it was time for her first pair of shoes. A trip to our local children’s shoe store brought back memories of my childhod trips to the Stride Rite store. Brinkman’s in Muncie carefully measured Baby K and brought out a whole variety of first walker shoes. It was no surpise that a pair of Stride Rite’s Early Walkers fit her as if they were customized just for her.

Stride Rite Natural Motion System in Puffling

Stride Rite Natural Motion System in Puffling

Stride Rite’s Natural Motion System early-walker shoes are much more than just adorably chunky. Designed using Stride Rite’s signature Natural Motion System, the flexible soles allow baby to confidently walk following their natural stride path, yet provide the protection that their developing feet need. The soft, leather lining is breathable and the insole offers baby well-cushioned stability. Baby K has both the Kit (brown and pink) and Puffling (sugar pink) styles, and both are equipped with oversized, easy to manage velcro straps that combine sturdiness and baby friendly delicacy. The big opening and handy back tab makes Stride Rite’s Natural Motion System Early Walker shoes quick and easy to put on – but not as easy for little hands to pull off.
Stride Rite is even joining the ranks of big companies using more earth friendly materials. The NMS early walkers have outsoles made of recycled rubber, natural stitching, and use water-based inks for the details and logo. They even come in a cute little recycled box that is now home to an assortment of rattles, blocks, and the occasional Baked Cheesey Cracker.
With Baby K sporting her new Stride Rites, I’m able to watch her toddle around with the same confidence that my mom had when she took me to buy my first pair of Stride Rite shoes over 25 years ago.

Filed under: baby, Reviews, Shoes, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Building Cathedrals

I received this email from a co-worker today, and you may have already seen it, but I feel compelled to share, as I really identified with carving tiny birds in beams that most will never see. To me, it’s all the little details that I pour into building my cathedral that make me proud of my role as a mother. Enjoy.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. 

Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously, not. 

No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. 

I’m invisible. The invisible Mom . Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’ 

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . 

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. 

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. 

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ 

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . 

I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: 

‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’ 

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 

No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. 

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte . I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’ 

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. 

It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. 

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. 

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘you’re gonna love it there.’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. 

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. 

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Safe Online Social Networking for Kids

According to Pew Internet Life Project, over half (55%) of teens aged 12-17 use online social networking sites. The most notable of these are Myspace and Facebook. While MySpace and Facebook have their place in the online landscape, most would agree that the dangers of children using MySpace and Facebook far outweigh the benefits. As a professional, online social networking is more valuable than any rolodex ever was. Networking online nurtures the professional skills necessary to compete for jobs. Kids need these skills, but you wouldn’t teach appreciation for music via Eminem’s music, right?girl on computer

These numbers speak for themselves.

In the US alone:

  • 1 in 5 kids are sexually solicited online. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • Of 600,000 registered sex offenders, 29,000 were found on a single social networking site. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • 1 in 8 youth have communicated online with an adult pretending to be much younger. (Polly Klass Foundation)
  • Almost half of kids age 12-17 report cyber-bullying incidents, and only 10% tell an adult about it. (UCLA Study, CNet News)
  • 16 percent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 63 percent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 43 percent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 11 percent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 52 percent of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline including personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves (24 percent). Double the number of teen girls have shared photos or physical descriptions of themselves online as boys. (34 percent girls vs. 15 percent boys) (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 20 percent of teens have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors, including posting mean or hurtful information or embarrassing pictures, spreading rumors, publicizing private communications, sending anonymous e-mails or cyberpranking someone. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)

Concerned? Me too.

I’ve had the chance to check out Yoursphere, an online community for kids aged 9 to 18, is designed to provide a supportive, youth-centric online community where healthy peer-to-peer relationships are encouraged and rewarded. The result is an online home where kids can be kids and parents have peace of mind.

dangerYour kids deserve a social networking site where creepers – predators, sex offenders, pornographers, and anyone hiding being a fake profile – are not welcome. Yoursphere.com

So how does Yoursphere work? Parents consent to their kids’ participation in Yoursphere by registering and then undergoing an identity, age-verification, and sex offender status-check through NetIDMe. Yoursphere is the only youth-only social networking site that is certified by Privacy Vaults Online Inc. (PRIVO), part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Safe Harbor Program. Yoursphere is further devoted to protect, assist and provide online safety education to members and their parents/guardians through a dedicated on-staff task force comprised of former state and federal law enforcement officials.

In the case of Yoursphere, safety and peace of mind comes at a modest cost. I think the success of subscription-based Yoursphere will ultimately be dependent on the acceptance of the site among kids. If their friends aren’t participating, neither will they.

Since we know that keeping kids off MySpace and Facebook present a difficult and unique challenge, give Yoursphere a chance, I think you’ll feel comfortable, and your kids will feel at home, too.

Save $5 off of an annual subscription by using promo code YSIN-CONY.


Filed under: Reviews, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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