The Merry Mother is designed to encourage peaceful and merry mothers by providing tips, humor, and perspective for the adventure of infancy.
Happy mothers make happy babies.
Treasures in This Issue:
- Merry Mother Exclusive: 3 Simple Tips to be Super-Mom in 2008
- A five-second (yes, I said SECOND) craft to entertain baby for 15 minutes.
- 5 different activities to conquer New Years Resolution #3 (Spend more quality time with baby)
- Eggcelent Ideas for Healthy Baby Food
In Case You Missed It...
Here are some of the new pages published recently at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms that you may have missed. As always, you can sign up for the
Infant Blog and be notified instantly!
Here is the feature article for the January 2008 edition of The Merry Mother. These exclusive articles are written for the primary benefit of Merry Mothers (aka subscribers).
3 Simple Tips
to be Super-Mom in 2008
A new year, a new you, right? Don't start 2008 as an overwhelmed, overworked, overwrought mother. Here are three simple things you can do to enhance those hidden motherly
Super-Mom Tip #1: Get a (Good) Calendar!
Regardless of how many children you have, you need a
calendar! Wherever you get one (banks often give them away), GET ONE! And hang it up somewhere everyone
can see it. (Ours is hanging in the dining room.)
A good calendar is more than just a list of appointments. It can be used for everything! Checklists,
spousal reminders, the center of your family's communication (and your sanity) starts here.
Get into the habit of going over your calendar at the beginning of the week. Choose either Sunday night
(after baby's bedtime) or Monday morning (during baby's first nap) to refresh and look at what's coming ahead.
I've fallen in love with the Thinkbin Calendar (pictured above). I stumbled upon this resource a few years ago and have used it ever since. Appointments, reminders, even meal planning, is all done in one spot. I especially love the daily division of morning, afternoon, and evening. This leaves plenty of room to write large enough for me to read it at a glance.
You can purchase The Thinkbin Family 2007/2008 Calendar, Deluxe Large Edition by clicking here.
Quick note: I've never seen this available for sale anywhere but through Amazon. If you do find it for sale in a store, please let me know. It is cheaper than most calendars (only $14.95) and definitely twice as useful.
Super-Mom Tip #2: Planning Makes Perfect
Nothing puts me in a panic like seeing the clock strike 5:00 and having no dinner plan. Sadly, the end
result is usually pizza, chicken nuggets, or take-out...not the healthiest (nor cheapest) choices for
Eliminate this stress by setting time aside at the beginning of the week to choose out your dinners,
consider your lunches, and create your grocery list. Heck, avoiding multiple trips to the grocery store
with babes in tow alone makes this worthwhile!
I generally write in those meals on my Thinkbin calendar (it's big enough). That way I can glance at it
and set out meat to thaw, etc. ahead of time. After planning, I print out all the recipes I'll be using (I use an electronic recipe holder called E-chef) or mark pages from books and set them on the counter so I'm ready to cook without searching for the recipe.
To further save time, I order most of my groceries online and have them delivered. Surprisingly, I spend
less on groceries shopping online than going to the store! This is primarily because I can calculate my bill as I
shop and am less likely to impulse-buy something I don't need.(I'm sure I'll use this rutabaga! It's
Currently, the two largest delivery services are Peapod.com (what I use) and Netgrocer.com. [If neither of these deliver to your area, type "online grocery" and a major city near you in Google for other options. This market is growing fast, even Wal-Mart and Sam's are developing an online grocery service!]
If I'm not at home, Peapod will leave the groceries in refrigerated boxes by the back door that I simply
return with my next order. The produce is excellent (no joke). They can't afford one bad apple to keep me from ordering again.
Delivery rates are reasonable, with a plethora of discounts available (like paying with Direct Check). They even accept manufacturer coupons. I generally order my groceries on Thursday and request a delivery on Saturday. I have until 11 pm Friday night to add to my order and I get to spend Saturday with my family instead of standing in line at the grocery store.
Super-Mom Tip #3: Interact With Your Baby Every Day
The final tip towards becoming the Super-Mom in 2008 is to intentionally devote quality play time with your baby every day. It seems like this should be a no-brainer, but it's amazing how it can quickly be replaced by more in-your-face responsibilities.
It's all too easy to care for the physical needs of your baby and inadvertently neglect her need for your TIME. Until your baby is old enough to vocalize, "Mommy, will you play with me?" You've got to speak up for her. To help you do this, check out the age-appropriate activities listed in the Infant Activities section below or purchase a book that contains fun and developmental baby activities for you to do together. Here's a list of the best of these books.
Committing to do these three things in 2008 will certainly alleviate some of the stresses of daily
mothering. Get a good calendar (and display it proudly), plan your meals and other responsibilities ahead
of time, and set aside time to interact with your baby.
2008 will zoom by just as fast (if not faster) than
2007. Doing these simple things will go such a long way in keeping you feeling like the Super-Mom you really are.
Next month's exclusive article will supply all the tips, tricks, and traps you should know in Introducing Your Baby to Family Meals.
Eggcelent Baby Food Ideas
Egg yolks are a very nutritious food for your baby. They have vitamin A, high-quality protein, vitamin B12 and other important nutrients
(including fat) that your baby needs to grow. Because egg whites are one of the most common allergens for
babies, experts strongly urge parents not to serve the white portion of the egg until baby is at least a year old.
Cooked egg yolks can be served to babies 7-8 months old. Place the raw eggs (in shells) in a pot of
cold water and bring to a boil. Boil them for 15 minutes before draining the pot and re-filling with cold
water to stop cooking. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, toss the shells and separate the whites from the yolks. Use the leftover cooked whites in "The Mother of All Egg Salads" below.
The yolks will stay good sealed in the fridge for up to one week.
If your baby is 7-9 months old, mash up the egg yolk and mix it in with cereal, or other fruits and veggies for dinner. If
your baby is 10-12 months old, you can crumble the yolk into little pieces and serve as a finger food.
A 10-12 month old baby can also have scrambled yolks for breakfast. I don't recommend using the shell to separate the raw whites and yolks. There is a higher
risk of shell pieces breaking off or bacteria from the shell getting into the yolk. Avoid this by washing your hands and using your fingers to separate them.
The Mother of All Egg Salads
This egg salad recipe is arguably the best (and easiest) you'll ever make. If your baby is 10 months or older, you can super-mash this up with tiny un-toasted bread pieces) for him to self-feed. For him, it should have a creamy consistency (not chunky) and the bread should be tiny enough to gum without choking.
- Fat Free Mayo
- Dill Pickle Relish
- Hard boiled eggs (more whites than yolks)
- Toasted bread
Starting with 1/4 cup mayo and 1 Tbs relish, add all the ingredients and keep mashing and mixing until it tastes
good to you. You can make this a day or two in advance and store in the fridge for a quick sandwich.
Here are a variety of activities you can do with your baby from birth until 18 months. It's encouraged that
you do these activities every day (repetition is good!) and even repeat those activities in previous newsletters
(Click here for back issues) to get maximum developmental benefit. Stop the activity once your baby appears to lose interest and try again later.
0-3 Month Activity: Listening Game
Use a rattle or bell to make a noise. Make the noise to the left and right, giving her an opportunity to look
for the source of the noise. Hold the rattle in front and see if she reaches for it. If she does, let her attempt to grab it. This helps build her listening awareness and hand-eye coordination.
3-6 Month Activity: Drumming Game
Using an old coffee can or empty formula container with a lid, tap on the top with a wooden spoon in a rhythmic pattern. Encourage your little drummer to hold the spoon and tap on the lid (hold it with him if
necessary). Count "1-2" as you tap. This gives him an increased awareness of rhythmic patterns and
vibration sensations. It also helps with hand-eye coordination.
6-9 Month Activity: Sizing Game
Place a set of measuring cups or unbreakable bowls in front of baby from smallest to largest. Moving left to
right, nest the bowls on top of each other until they are stacked according to size. Repeat this several times,
helping baby to help you. Use "large" and "small" as you stack and un-stack. This activity helps make her aware of different sizes, shapes (you can use blocks too), and direction (left and right).
9-12 Month Activity: Guessing Game
Show a small object to your baby and name it. Hide it in your palm and place both hands behind your back. Bring your hands forward, and using your baby's name, ask him to find the object. Repeat
several times, keeping the object in the same hand until he can point correctly to the hand concealing the object.
You may switch hands eventually, but only after he has guessed correctly (and received praise) a few times. Never switch hands behind your back, but do it in front of him so he can see and guess correctly. This activity
helps with memory recall.
12-18 Month Activity: Smelling Game
Choosing strong scents (like vanilla, cold coffee, orange juice, vinegar, etc.) sprinkle each on separate cotton balls. Place
each ball in a separate container in front of the original source (i.e. vanilla bottle or orange).
Encourage her to smell each cotton ball, while you point out and name the original bottle. Then ask her to point at the corresponding bottle. For example, if she smells a cotton ball of vanilla, ask her to point to the bottle of vanilla. Use both sweet (rose lotion) and sour (vinegar) smells.
This helps further her awareness of smell, teaches her the purpose of the nose, and develops the skill of matching and associating different odors with their source.
These activities were adapted from June Oberlander's fabulous book, Slow and Steady Get Me Ready: 260 Weekly
Developmental Activities from Birth until Age 5. Click here to see this highly-recommended book.
The Ultimate Baby Entertainer
Need a quick activity to occupy baby in her high chair while you're cooking dinner? Look no further! This
simple, free, 5-second craft is guaranteed to keep your little one occupied for at least 15 minutes.
Ready to write down your list of ingredients? Here they are:
- 1 piece of scotch tape (approx. 3 inches long)
Yes...that's all you need. Make a "loop" using the tape, but do it inside-out, leaving the sticky part on the outside.
Place the tape on your baby's hand and...Voila! Instant adventure. Every time he succeeds in taking it off
one hand, it will get stuck on the other!
Before setting this up, make sure he is playing near you so you can catch him if he tries to put it in his
mouth. Chances are, he'll be so intrigued about getting it off his finger, he won't try...but keep an eye
out all the same.
The following toys have been recalled so far in 2008.
Click here to see the details on these recalls.
- "Soldier Bear" brand name toys
- Bead and Wire Toy sold at Dollar Stores
- Toy Cars sold at Dollar Stores
- Tot Tower Blocks by Eeebo
- Metal Toy Wagons sold at Tractor Supply Stores
- "Panda" Super Magnets sold at Dollar Stores
Other Recalled Baby Items
Added Recall Reports
Several new Recall Reports were added this month. Click on the link to see them.
If you would like to
view all the Recall Reports, click here.
This wraps up January's Merry Mother. If you haven't submitted your guess for The Mystery Mom, don't miss
this easy opportunity to win $25! Here are the clues:
- I began my adult life as a kindergarten teacher.
- I was married in 1981 in "The Wedding of the Century" to a man 13 years my senior.
- My nickname was "The People's _________".
- We had two beautiful children, but divorced in 1996.
- I'm well known for my compassion and sympathy to those who suffer. I worked hard to try to prohibit the use of landmines and provide care to those injured by them (specifically children).
- Elton John wrote a song about me.
- Tragically, I was killed in 1997 in an auto accident.
Be sure to look for the next edition of The Merry Mother published on February 4th.
Besides announcing our Mystery Mom Contest Winner (and $25 Gift Card recipient) we will be unveiling our NEW newsletter design - easier to read, more photos, it will all be re-packaged in a new sigh-ingly good design.
I can't wait to show you! Watch for it on February 4th!
Thank You Readers!
Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to this newsletter. It's a labor of love and 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.
P.S. If a friend sent this to you, and you enjoyed it, click here to start your own subscription.
P.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.