9 The Merry Mother: Holiday Edition
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santa Jesus
{Photo by azrainmain}

Special Holiday Edition!
December 2008 ~ Issue # 014

Merry Christmas Merry Mothers! I hope this newsletter finds your tummies brimming with leftover turkey and your wallets empty from Christmas shopping!

As you get all cozy in your homes and the snow drifts down (yes, it's snowed already here in Wisconsin), quiet your heart and consider the year past...and the year to come.

How blessed we are to have our little treasures! What a gift they are! Have a blessed Christmas - and don't forget: 'Tis the Season to be Merry!



Seeking Mothers...

We believe that you should not have to choose between quality of life, time with family, and earning an income to secure your future. You can have it all! And we're on a mission to help you have that balance. Work from Home with Our TEAM! Visit http://www.themomteam.com/stacyk TODAY!!

Treasures in this Issue...

Get the most out of this month's eZine.

Print it and read it at your leisure throughout the day.

In Case You Missed It...

Here are some of the newest and most popular articles at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms (EiR) that you may have missed. As always, sign up for the Infant Blog and be notified instantly of all new or altered pages!

Pages Coming up in December:

**Note: These links won't work until the page is posted!***


Pages You Contributed in November

This site is built on the back of moms just like you! Share your experiences and thoughts with other moms: from birth-stories to product reviews, we want to hear it!

A Petition You Should Know About

Here at the EiR, we value all babies - even those still in the womb. In fact, I feel it would be hypocritical for me to only care about babies after their first gulp of air. For this reason, myself (and my contributing Mentor Mothers) would like to make you aware of a petition for President-Elect Obama to show our support for life - at all stages - and encourage him not to push through the "Freedom of Choice Act" which would remove all restrictions on abortion - including those on late-term babies that could survive outside the womb.

Please join us in supporting babies at all stages of life. Click here to sign the "Fight FOCA" petition. And don't forget to send it to all your friends and family!

On the other side of this difficult coin, if you (or someone you know) have had an abortion in the past and struggle with feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression and "numbness", you may suffer from Post Abortion Syndrome. This website (http://www.ramahinternational.org) may be helpful to you.

A special thank-you to Merry Mother Lisa who made me aware of this petition!



One Step Ahead

My favorite baby-store online, One Step Ahead has everything you could want for your baby - including those things you don't even know exist. I love flipping through their catalog and browsing online. Be sure to check out their toy section and warm-weather baby apparel! Visit the toy shoppe at One Step Ahead.

    Promotions: Free shipping on all orders over $85 with code "WREATH" (expires 12/14/08). Get 15% off orders $100 or more with code "BABY15P" (expires 12/31/08). Get a free 1-year magazine subscription with orders over $75 to WonderTime, Family Fun, or Cookie.


Switching Stores

Do you or someone you love suffer with issues like Asthma, Eczema or Allergies? Do you or someone you love suffer with Arthritis, Weight Management, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease or Low Energy? If so, Visit my Website TODAY, and I will show you easy, low cost solutions! http://www.switchingstores.com/stacyk

shoe december


IsaBooties has just revealed their latest winter design: Cozy Toesies. These infant boots are lined on the sole and the ankle with extra-thick, super soft Polar fleece. These eco-friendly shoes are machine washable and dryable and won't crack. Ideal for cold Christmas trips to Grandma's house! Peek at the baby shoes at IsaBooties (as seen in BabyTalk Magazine!).

    Promotions: Save 15% off all orders (and free shipping!) with code "holiday08". Hurry! Expires at noon on Thursday, December 4th!


Bed and Breakfasts

Escape for the New Year at a romantic Bed and Breakfast! This online directory will help you find the perfect place for you to get away with your spouse and bring in the new year! Click here to find a romantic Bed and Breakfast near you.


Cute Kid Contest

If you haven't already - enter your baby into the 2008 Cute Kid Contest. The winner receives $25,000 for college, and will be the new face of Carter's footwear! Click here to enter your baby into the contest.


Want to go out for New Year's? They even include parent-reviews for you to compare! Their HUGE database has excellent sitters in your area. Find great sitters in your area on Sittercity.com. Try Sittercity for free today!

    Promotions: Get 10% off your registration with code SCSAVE10.

Give Me Baby Bargains!

Yes! Please notify me of new coupons
and special baby sales.

(Emails are sporadic, as coupons come in,
with a twice a month maximum.)

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.
E-mail Address*


Award-Winning Baby Christmas Gifts:
The Ultimate Learning Toys

Shop Your Budget

To help identify which toys you can afford this season, I've split them into categories for you.

$60 + Up
$30 - $59
$20 - $29
Under $20

If you're going to purchase baby Christmas gifts this year, why not buy those awarded prizes for innovation and child-development? Before we jump into those lists, here are a few things to avoid this Holiday season.

First, don't overwhelm your baby with gifts. Burying the tree in Christmas gifts will only tempt you to hurry your baby through them.

If he is old enough to rip paper, you should sit back with some coffee and let him go through the gifts at his own pace.

Ripping paper is a great developmental activity! It is excellent fine motor skill practice. Learning to pinch paper with his fingers is a lesson that prepares him for gripping his own spoon and, eventually, holding a pencil.

Second, don't toss away those bows! Your baby will find them as fascinating (if not more) as his other baby Christmas gifts! It has become somewhat of a family tradition to stick a bow on the newest baby's hand and watch her puzzle through why it won't come off. And why when she does manage to pull it off, it gets stuck on the other hand!

The Christmas Season is a great opportunity to expose your baby to all sorts of brain-stimulating activities. All of the gifts listed below were chosen by various companies and reviewing parents and experts as "The Best Christmas Baby Buys".

Baby Christmas Gifts:
$60 and Up

Baby Christmas toys 1

Bright Starts Around We Go

The Around We Go is the only activity station that is designed to grow with your baby through the toddler years. Babies can safely walk around the activity table to play with the electronic piano, magical drawing station, clickers, spinners, and rattles. It also has a removable dishwasher-safe snack tray.

Once your baby has achieved walking-stage, the seat can be removed to create a traditional toddler play table that allows multiple children to play at the same time. (Great for sibling play time!) This toy is designed for babies 4 months and up.

Award Won: Dr. Toy's Best Products for 2008.

Click Here to Continue Reading the
Rest of This Article

February's Feature Article Will Be:

Conquering the Infant Cold

    Any words of wisdom for the new parents? Share your celebrity parent thoughts here.

  • Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) a son, Sophocles Iraia Manasiadis, on November 4th.
  • Michelle Monaghan (Eagle Eye) a daughter, Willow Katherine, on November 7th.
  • Jason Blaine (country singer) a son, Carter, on November 10th.
  • Adam Sandler (Bedtime Stories) a daughter, Sunny Madeline, on November 2nd.
  • Rob Corddry (Daily Show) a daughter, Marlo Stevenson, on November 12th.
  • Josh Gracin (American Idol) a daughter, Isabella Sophia, on November 12th.
  • Ashlee Simpson-Wentz (singer) a son, Bronx Mowgli, on November 20th.

infant activities

0-3 Months: Jingle Bells

Using a pair of socks or colorful booties, sew (securely) little Christmas bells on the tops. Lay your baby on a soft blanket and slip the booties onto his feet. Move his legs around so he can hear the bells, encouraging him to make the bells jingle all by himself.

This activity encourages him to coordinate his feet and use his motor skills to kick. It also builds on his problem solving (how do I get those things to ring?) and visual tracking.

3-6 Months: Going on a Sleigh Ride

Once your baby can sit up with support, take him for a sleigh ride! Take a box that will hold your baby while he sits up (or put your baby in a Bumbo Baby Sitter ) and cut down the height so your baby is support, but can see over the top.

Punch two holes in the front end of the box on either side, about halfway down. Insert rope ends into the holes and knot securely. Line the box with blankets or towels to give your baby support and comfort. Grasp the rope and gently pull your baby around the house singing Christmas carols

This activity helps build balance, encourages head and neck control and helps improve her visual tracking skills.

6-9 Months: Christmas Story Time

This is an ideal time to read to your infant. She is old enough to be interested in pictures, but still young enough to be somewhat immobile. Break out some seasonal boardbooks for Christmas. Every year I purchase a few holiday books to add to our collection. These books only come out at Christmas, so they're extra special!

Some great infant boardbooks for Christmas are: My First Christmas; by Tomie dePaola, Baby Elf's Christmas by Jane Cowen-Fletcher, and One Shining Star: A Christmas Counting Book by Anne Kennedy.

Reading to your baby is a great way to encourage language development and word association. Having her turn the pages will help her with her fine motor skills and pinching grasp.

9-12 Months: The Christmas Surprise Box

Take two small boxes (like shoeboxes or wiper containers) and fill them with some interesting Christmas items. Plastic ornaments, stuffed holiday toys, tinsel, bells, and other interesting holiday items around the house.

As he takes things out of the box, say "Out" and "In" when he puts them back in. Encourage word recognition by saying "open" and close" when appropriate. Your curious explorer will love this game!

This activity teaches problem solving, size and shape discrimination, the concepts of in, out, open, and closed and encourages fine motor skills.

12-18 Months: Present Practice

Give your baby a head start in unwrapping his gifts by surrounding her with your leftover wrapping paper scrapings and bows. She will enjoy ripping the paper and sticking bows and ribbons all over. Just for fun, throw in some interesting paper textures: parchment paper, wax paper, foil, colored paper, and typing paper. She'll love ripping them all to pieces!

This activity builds up cognitive skills, encourages her to explore different textures with her hands and will improve her fine motor skills by ripping the paper.

Eventually, he may begin to lose interest in playing these games. Don't force anything. If that seems to be the case, simply try out some of the infant activities in previous newsletters.

These activities were adapted from Baby Play And Learn and Baby Play (by Gymboree).

heather's hints

~ Holiday Swirl ~

december food

Ingredients and Directions

This festive swirl of green and red will get your infant into the holiday spirit! It may not appear tasty to you but your baby will love the velvety-texture of the avocado against the grainy sweetness of the strawberries.
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters (fresh) or 1 cup thawed
  • 1 ripe avocado (a black avocado is ripe)
  • Whole Grain Cereal (optional)
  • Formula or breastmilk (optional)

Place the strawberries in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon 2-3 Tbs into a plastic bowl. Place the rest into ice-cube trays and freeze for later use. Cut open an avocado (insert knife until hits the seed, then rotate the avocado and open like a plum. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed (discard) and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Blend until smooth.

If the strawberry puree seems to watery, add a little cereal to thicken it. If it gets too thick, water it down with formula or extra breastmilk. Add 1-2 Tbs of avocado to the strawberry puree, swirling the colors nicely. Don't overmix or your holiday swirl will look more like a brown clump!


Age Notes

Allergy Notice! If there is a history of a strawberry allergy or gluten problems in your family (or your spouse's) speak to your doctor about when those foods should be introduced.
  • Strawberries: 9 - 12 months
  • Avocado: 4 months
  • Whole Grain Cereal: 7 months (younger babies should eat single-grain cereals like brown rice, millet, or rolled oats)

Nutrition Notes

Strawberries offer your baby Potassium, Vitamin C, and even Calcium. They are also a great source of the dietary fiber your baby will need to keep his bowels moving regularly.

Avocados are one of the best foods you can feed your baby. Although they have a lot of calories (731) and fat (30 grams), the fat is unsaturated and good for your growing baby. This miracle fruit (yep, I said fruit!) also has a TON of fiber (10 grams in one avocado!). Finally, it outstrips the banana in potassium by 30%. Potassium helps lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and cancer.

Help your baby's body get a head-start by offering these nutritious and delicious foods!

This recipe was taken from one of my infant book staples: First Meals. Click here to see this great baby food resource.
heather's hints

Save Your Memories...and Your Sanity at the Same Time

Like most moms, I find my days filled-to-the-brim with activities. It seems like the days with my baby fly by - and then she's turning 2 and I'm wondering where I was...did I really live through those 2 years? It passed so quickly!

Save yourself a heartache (and guilty feelings) by keeping a baby journal. I purchased a simple ringed journal before she was born, and as things happen I add them to the book. Then, when I have the time to break out the baby book, I've got it all written down already.

Some entries are simple 2-3 sentences of cute things or milestones she's reached. Other times its several pages of my hopes and prayers for her as she grows. My husband has even taken it with him to work to share his thoughts for her. We don't write it in every day, just when we feel there is a memory or event we should capture.

I don't have to have the bulky baby book lying around, nor do I have to spend an entire afternoon on a simple entry. Writing them in the journal as they happen allow me to transfer those milestones at my leisure to her official book.

I enjoy reading over Lauren's entries when she was a baby. I'm amazed at how many things I thought "Surely I'll always remember this" have flew out of my cluttered brain. I'm so thankful I took time to write down those "unforgettable" moments I inevitably forgot!

The book is our "secret" for our children. I look forward to handing it over to her someday - and her joy at being able to "live" her infancy and early years all over again through my eyes.


There have been 13 recalls since the last Merry Mother was published in November.

Sadly, some of those involve fatalities. Imagine my shock to realize the blinds I have in Elena's Room (from IKEA) were recalled this month after a fatality! Check to make sure your nursery is as safe as you think it is! (Side Note: All blinds can be dangerous to your baby. See this article on how to make blinds and shades safe for your growing infant.

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!

Window Blinds Recalled

  • IKEA Roman Blinds death of a 1 year old
  • Green Mountain Vista Roman Blinds

See Recall Report #7: Baby Furniture

Infant Medicine Drops Recalled

  • Mylicon Gas Relief Dye Free Drops

See Recall Report #9: Medicines and Equipment.

Clothing Items Recalled

    • Arizona Brand Newborn and Infant Pants
    • Young Colors Childrens Hooded Jackets

    See Recall Report #16: Clothes, Shoes and Blankets

    Toy Items Recalled

    • Mini-Televisor Toy
    • Toy Xylophones
    • Friendship Yin Yang Necklaces from Claire's
    • My Little Train Classics Toy Trains
    • COREL Swim 'n Score Pool Stix
    • Children's Two-Way Radios from Toys R Us
    • Dive Sticks from Target
    • Bead Maze Toys

    See the 2008 Toy Recall Report


    Merry Christmas!
    Immanuel has Come!

    my girls

    Happy Holidays
    from My Family to Yours

    I hope you've enjoyed reading this special Holiday Edition of The Merry Mother.

    The next issue will be published on February 3rd. So watch your Inbox! smiley

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    Thank You Readers!

    Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to this newsletter. 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 is newsletter is focused on one thing: helping us all become merrier mothers - because merry mothers = merry babies!


    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

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