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Your Online Magazine for Moms
March 2009 ~ Issue # 015

Top 'o the mornin' to ye! (Translation: Happy St. Patrick's!)

You've chosen to read your edition of this month's Merry Mother in the traditional scroll-down version. If you'd rather skip through this online magazine in page-by-page format, click here.

Don't forget to drop me an email (heather@the-essential-infant-resource-for-moms.com) and let me know what you think of the new design!


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In Case You Missed It...

Here are some of the newest articles at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms (EiR) you may have missed.

Free eBooks for You:

I've added two new free books for subscribers of The Merry Mother. Why did I choose to give them away for free?

Several years ago my husband Cameron and I came to a crossroad. It became evident that I needed to bring in some additional income for our family. I had just given birth to Elena and wanted to stay at home with my children. Plus, the cost of childcare would likely negate any extra money I brought in.

We decided to search for a work at home business. After wading through TONS of rip-offs and "survey" opportunities, I came across two eBooks about making money online.

Those books were the two I'm giving away. Without them, the Essential Infant Resource would not exist (and my kids would be in daycare).

If you are looking for a legitimate way to make extra income from your home, I encourage you to read these two books.

Pages Coming Up at the EiR:

Sign up for the Infant Blog and be notified the moment these pages are online.
  • The Best Meal Planning Guide for Losing Extra Pregnancy Pounds
  • Choosing Your Baby's Doctor: 4 Sure-Fire Tips to find the Perfect Pediatrician
  • A Fresh Look at Genuardi's Grocery Delivery
  • Make Baby Food at Home: Books That Make it Easy
  • Heavenly Nipple Cream: A Review of Earth Mama, Angel Baby
  • Breastfeeding Tips for Working Moms
coupon

Every month I get flooded with baby-related sales, coupons, and discounts. Since I could never spend enough money to keep up with it all, I copy them down and list them here for you.

Baby Brown's Boutique

Always a favorite of mine, Baby Brown's is offering $10 off with coupon code AFF07. Besides having brand name diaper bags like Petunia Pickle Bottom, Baby Brown's also happens to have some of my favorite Easter dresses this year. (If you missed this Easter's "Best Boutiques of 2009", you can view it here.)

Click here to visit the online store, Baby Brown's.

The Children's Place Logo (125x125)

The Children's Place

  • Take an additional 50% off already reduced prices.
  • Standard $5 shipping on all orders, no minimum.
  • Get 15% off all purchases with coupon code "SA19". Expires March 8th, 2009
Click here to visit The Children's Place

IsaBooties

I love the booties and leather shoes made at IsaBooties. Besides being environmentally-friendly, they stay on my baby's feet (and I always buy large) and they're machine washable.

Adorable styles and good sales keep me coming back. This month they are offering a 15% off coupon code to celebrate the coming Spring. Just enter "SPRINGTIME09" in the promotional box during checkout to receive the savings. Expires March 31st, 2009

Click here to see the adorable baby shoes at IsaBooties


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Magic Cabin Natural Toys

Magic Cabin has been guided by the simple notion that children's lives are enriched by ample time for open-ended, creative, imaginative play. They believe in good-old-fashioned make believe and in children's innate need to interact with simple, natural toys and crafts.

Currently they are clearing out their inventory for spring. Save up to 50% on further markdowns and new reductions.

Click here to see the toys at Magic Cabin icon

One Step Ahead

One Step Ahead - See What's New
Another favorite store online, One Step Ahead, has just launched it's spring collection. They have some of the most unique and practical baby items on the web. I've purchased from them, and will do so again. An excellent company with excellent products.

  • Get free shipping on all orders over $100 with coupon code FREESHIP. (Put in the "promotional code" box during checkout.)
  • A "Bill Me Later" feature is available for all purchases over $100.
  • Get $15 off your order of $100 or more with coupon code "BABY15P" at checkout. Expires 3/31/09

Click here to visit One Step Ahead

Earth Mama Angel Baby

If you prefer using organic or natural products on your body (and your baby's), I highly recommend trying the Earth Mama Angel Baby products. They are offering several favorites for 20% off in March.
herbal breastfeeding tea to increase milk supply
  • Their celebrity-loved Natural Stretch Oil ~ used to prevent stretch marks
  • Milkmaid Tea ~ used to increase your milk production
  • No More Milk Tea ~ use to slow breast milk production
  • Harmony Tea ~ used to help with depression and sadness
  • Monthly Comfort Tea ~ used to help jumpstart your healing after labor or surgery.

Click here to visit Earth Mama Angel Baby.

feature

March kicks off a new series of articles entitled "Balancing Life with a New Baby: Saving Time, Saving Money". In this series, we will look at practical ways you can lower your family's chaos (and your stress level). Here is the first article of this helpful series.

Saving Money on Groceries:
An Insider's Guide to Smart Shopping

saving money on groceries
With bank-accounts shriveling all over the U.S., now's a good time to make saving money on groceries a weekly reality.

If you've tightened your budget belt and are looking for ways to stretch a dime, learning how to power shop your groceries is the best way to trim the fat in your frugal grocery shopping experience.

Speaking from experience, it will save you hundreds every month.

In researching grocery shopping on a budget, I stumbled upon a power-shopping e-course. I followed the suggestions...and was shocked at the results.

Let's just say that these discount grocery shopping steps are now non-negotiable. In fact, it's become somewhat of a family joke.

Since impressing my husband in those first few weeks with freebies and awesome discounts (90% off) he's been asking me "Can you get THAT for free?" (Seriously, he asks this about infant Tylenol, diapers, car wax, dog food...)

My reply? Just give this Super-Mom some time...smiley Now, if only there was a "free college tuition" coupon...

Saving Money on Groceries: Learning How to Power Shop

Of all the "recommendations" I've followed in saving money on groceries over the years, learning to power shop has most dollar-for-dollar impact on my grocery shopping on a budget.

I'd heard rumors about people who could fill a grocery cart and walk out under $50, but I always shrugged them off as old wives' tales. Could it be that those people truly exist?

I needed some training. I also needed simplicity. I do NOT have the time, nor the patience, to clip thousands of coupons and stuff them in a box for "eventual" savings. (Honestly, what mother of young children has time for that?)

Into that dilemma stepped Daniel Pereira. He became (and still is) my grocery-hero. He wrote an ebook entited Saving Money Through Power Shopping.

I followed the book's suggestions...and my budget will never be the same. Here's what happened.


Our Series on "Balancing Life with a New Baby: Saving Time, Saving Money" will continue in April with:

Become a Family Meal Planning Professional in Minutes

div align="center">infant activities

Spending time interacting with your baby is an important part of bonding and development. Use this month's activities as a launching pad for fun.

If you get tired of doing these suggestions every day, read these book reviews of several of the most popular baby game books published today.

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0-3 Months: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...

mirror
{Photo by Mish Mish}
Lean a full-length mirror against a wall (I removed one from the wall in our bedroom). Hold your baby in your lap close to the mirror. Let your infant touch the mirror and explore for a few minutes.

Interact with her in the mirror by waving, making faces, turning your head, etc. For extra fun, use props! Add a funny hat, or play peek-a-boo with a cloth.

Finish the fun-time by pointing out all your infant's body parts in the mirror. (Bonus tip: A mirror is a great time to encourage tummy time stretches! She'll want to look in the mirror, so will work harder at lifting her head!)

This activity encourages the learning of body parts, helps her begin to recognize herself and provides environment awareness.

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3-6 Months: Tick Tock

You can sit or stand in this activity. Hold your baby under his arms and keep his head upright. Use this little chant with the accompanying motions:

Tick-tock, tick-tock (swing your baby from side to side)
I'm a little cuckoo clock.
(swing him from side to side)
Tick-tock, tick-tock
(swing him from side to side)
Now I'm striking one o'clock (lift him into the air, gently, just once)
Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Repeat this verse with two and three o'clock, raising him up in the air two and three times respectively. If your arms get tired, simply place your baby in your lap and sway back and forth.

This activity introduces him to balance, body awareness, and builds up his listening skills.

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6-9 Months: Squishy, Squishy!

Lay down a towel or plastic trash bag on the floor, setting the high chair on top. (Can you guess where this is going?) Secure your infant in the high chair with a bib on (or strip him down to a diaper).

Divide up a VERY ripe banana on the high-chair tray and let him explore the properties of the banana - let him squish and smear to his heart's content.

If he's having a blast and you're out of bananas, try a ripe peach (sans the pit, of course), a plate of Jell-O, or a small bowl of cooked and cooled oatmeal. When he's done, transition into bath-time fun! (You can find bath activities in the May, 2008 issue under "Rain, Rain".)

This activity teaches autonomy and independence in self-feeding, and enhances his fine motor skills.

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9-12 Months: Nesting Bowls

Set three or more plastic bowls on the kitchen floor, nested inside one another. Seat your baby on the floor next to the bowls. Show your baby how to take out the bowls, and then how to stack them again according to size.

Let her explore the bowls, enjoying the experience of taking them apart and putting them back together. Once she's mastered that skill, add a square or rectangular plastic container. Watch to see what she does with this new odd object.

This activity teaches cause and effect, builds thinking skills, and teaches seriation (putting things in order). It is also a great gross and fine motor skills development activity.

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12-18 Months: Baby's Home Sweet Home

tent
{Photo by Sandover}
Place a large sheet, towels, or a blanket over your dining room table, card table, or cardboard box to make a "house".

Fold back a corner to make a door. Ask your baby if you should invite some "friends" (i.e. stuffed animals) to come over to her house.

Collect a few items and bring them into the house, shutting the "door" behind you. If it's too dark, bring in a flashlight.

Bring in pillows for sleeping, or a plastic tea set for "tea time". (Elena loves this activity, by the way!) After a little while of playing together, fold up the "door" and let her continue to read books or play in the house by herself.

This activity builds up her thinking skills, builds creative imagination, and encourages her to begin to learn how to play by herself.


heather's hints

Leprechaun's Delight

peas
{Photo by Dayna McIsaac}

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Ingredients and Directions

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, washed and sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup apple juice (optional, for babies needing a sweet enticement to eat veggies!)
Warm the butter in a pan, adding the leeks. Saute until just golden, about 5-6 minutes. Add the potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until soft. Add the frozen peas and continue to cook about 6 minutes more.

Place the mixture in a blender or food processor, adding the juice (if desired). Blend until pureed (you can also use a food mill).

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Freezer Notes

Doubling this recipe will give you instant meals for the future. Follow the directions, adding extra puree to an ice-cube tray to freeze. Each cube will be approximately 1/4 cup puree. When ready to use, defrost in the microwave, making sure you stir well to eliminate hot spots.

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Age Notes

  • This recipe is for babies older than 7 months.
  • If your baby is particuarly gassy, you may wish to leave out the leeks until after his first birthday.
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Nutrition Notes

Leeks are a wonderful source of folates, potassium, and Vitamin C. Regular consumption of leeks has been shown to prevent colon and ovarian cancer in adults. (Why not start young?)

The green pea is a wonder-veggie. They have amazing amounts of 8 vitamins, 7 minerals, fiber and protein. They are nearly off the charts in terms of Vitamin K - a must-have for strong bones.

Potatoes have been given a bad wrap. When they're not fried or smothered in butter and other fats, they are actually very good for you. The skin is the healthiest portion of the potato, but it is a choking hazard for infants and so will need to be removed. However, the pulp is still a good source of Vitamin C and fiber - helping to keep your baby's digestive system off and humming.


If you are interested in making your own baby food at home (and saving hundreds every year), I've reviewed several of the best "how to" books on the market. You can read these baby-food book reviews here.

recalls

There have been 5 recalls since the last Merry Mother was published in February. Just as a reminder, these are all pdf documents. You will need a PDF Reader installed on your computer to read them. If you don't have one, you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free at this site.

Although these reports are always free, they take a lot of work to update every month. Please consider giving a small donation in return for the reports. $1, $2, $5...the amount is really irrelevant. I just appreciate the gesture! After all, I've a family to feed too!


Toys Recalled


Baby Furniture Recalled

closing

closing photo
{Photo by OutoftheBox27}

I hope you've enjoyed reading the March issue of The Merry Mother.

The next issue will be published on April 7th. So watch your Inbox! smiley

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Thank You Readers!

Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to this online magazine. It is a labor of love. I'm happy to know others enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it.

My growing subscriber list shows that you have been sharing it with your friends, and for that, I am deeply grateful. After all, this online magazine is focused on one thing: helping us all become merrier mothers - because merry mothers = merry babies!

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P.S. Be sure to check back at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms, your friend-next-door for questions-answered, stories-told, and laughs-had.

Newsletter Archives

All the previous editions have been archived and are available for you to examine at your leisure.

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