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The Merry Mother, Nov. '07 - A new contest, fun infant activities, recipes and so much more.
November 10, 2007
Let The Merry Mother provide you with the pinch of humor and dash of inspiration you need for sanity this busy Thanksgiving. Got the turkey in the oven? Print out the newsletter and browse through it while the stuffing is baking and the coffee is hot.

Here's what you can look forward to this issue.

  • The Mystery Mom Contest launches!
  • A slow-cooker recipe that I actually like (for after Thanksgiving)
  • Tip of the Month - Elena's favorite teether (Think Bugs Bunny)
  • Activities to encourage development and growth
  • An Infant Medicine Recall you need to know about
  • The safest way to trim newborn nails
  • Plus: what smell will your children remember you by? Pick one of these.

An Essential Reminder

Before I begin, let me remind you to open the newsletter up all the way (instead of using the Preview Mode) and allow the images to shine through. The whole newsletter will be so much more enjoyable that way. (If you use Gmail, click on the green box at the top to see the graphics.)

To avoid forgetting and changing passwords, I've chosen a permanent password for Merry Mothers like you. If you come to an encrypted page, use the password "GimeGoodies" to gain access. This password will not change! Please note that it is ALL ONE WORD and CASE SENSITIVE.

This password will not be included again in a newsletter, so be sure to have your browser remember it or write it down. (If you do happen to forget, you can email me anytime through the Contact Me form on the site.)

What You May Have Missed

Things have been crazy around The Essential Infant Resource for Moms. Besides revamping the entire recall section and launching the newsletter, I posted some other pages you may have missed.

Up and Coming Pages

  • Top Baby (and Mom!) Christmas Gifts of 2007
  • Holiday Safety Tips
  • Newborn Constipation (how to tell, what to do)
  • Newborn Checklist: What You Need and What You Don't

Quote of the Month

There's only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.
~ Old Chinese Proverb

Keep your sense of humor sharp over Thanksgiving - check out these other chuckle-worthy quotes.

Baby Food Recipe of the Month
Avocado & Egg Yolk

Okay, I know this sounds disgusting, but it was my daughter Lauren's favorite baby food. Babies must be at least 4 months old to eat avocado (well-pureed) and 7-8 months to eat an hard-boiled egg yolk, well mashed.

Mixing the two produces a variety of wonderful health benefits. Avocado is an excellent source of "good" fat that your baby needs for brain development. The egg yolk (not the white!) contains Choline, which your baby needs for healthy brain and cardiovascular development.

Family Recipe of the Month

Finally, I have developed a Crock-Pot recipe that I actually like (I'm an extremely picky eater). I love the concept of a slow-cooker, but often feel like the food comes out bland and mushy. This recipe is super easy and versatile. Last week I replaced the kielbasa with Italian sausage and it was delicious!

Slow-Cooker Fall Minestrone

    1 package Turkey Kielbasa, sliced at an angle in 1 inch chunks
    2 cans diced tomatoes, Italian style
    2 cans chicken broth
    1 can cannellini beans
    1 can red kidney beans
    1 C. carrots… thinly sliced
    1/4 tsp salt and pepper
    1 C. bow tie pasta… whole wheat
    1 medium yellow squash… halved lengthwise and sliced
    Parmesan, grated

In a slow cooker, combine kielbasa, undrained tomatoes, broth, cannelini beans, kidney beans, carrots, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 8-9 hours or on high for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Add pasta and squash to the slow cooker. If using the low setting, switch to high and cook an additional 30-45 minutes more until pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 8.

Baby Tip of the Month

Elena's current favorite teething toy is…(drum roll please)…a carrot stick. It's cheap, it's easy, and it may even encourage the rest of us to gnaw for a while. Hopefully it will instill a longer-term desire for carrots!

She has only the bottom two teeth right now, so there is no chance of pieces being bitten off and choked on. Keep an eye on your little one, and if the carrot shows any signs of trauma, replace it with a stronger toy. There should only be "gumming" no "biting". No carrots? Try celery.

Doing activities with your baby will encourage bonding and stimulate development. Do the age-appropriate activity on a regular basis throughout the month. Doing it once or twice will be fun, but not stimulating enough for consistent growth.

0-3 Month Activity
Paper Plate Puppet

Using a paper plate, draw a face on the front. Place your baby in your lap and hold up the puppet about 10 inches from his eyes. Make a silly sound and take the puppet away. Smile and make the silly sound again. Does he look for the puppet? Repeat this several times. Then show him the puppet but don't make the silly noise. Does he try to make it?

Also, slant the puppet's face away and say "peek-a-boo!" This helps the baby notice there is a difference between the front and back. Watch your baby's eyes follow the movement of the puppet's face.

What this teaches:

  • more awareness of faces
  • motivation to observe by making a silly noise
  • visually training the eye to move from left to right

3-6 Month Activity
Nursery Rhymes & Rhythms

Go the library and pick up a nursery rhyme book. Pick a few of your favorites and read or sing the rhyme outloud. Repeat each one several times. Show baby the picture that goes with each rhyme. A brief glance will help him begin to associate pictures and words. The Rhymes and rhythms will be help develop his listening skills. Also, try replacing the name in the nursery rhyme with your baby's name. The use (and your nodding, pointing, and tickling) will help build awareness of his name.

What this teaches:

  • language enrichment (rhymes and rhythms)
  • listening skills
  • name recognition

6-9 Month Activity
A Future Picasso?

After laying some towels on the floor, strip your baby down to a diaper and place her in a highchair. On one side of the tray, place a dab of yogurt, jello, cottage cheese, or other edible product on the tray. On the other side of the tray pour a small pile of bread crumbs or oatmeal. Let her explore away with her fingers. She will make an absolute mess, but she will learn a ton.

What this teaches:

9-12 Month Activity
Can You Do What I Do?

Find an oven mitt, slipper, and hat. Put the mitt on your hand and take it off. Encourage him to put the mitten on his hand. Laugh and praise him for getting it on (thumb not necessary). Practice taking turns doing this. Repeat this using the hat and slipper. When you put the hat on your head, encourage him to take it off for you. Does he put it on his own head?

Place the mitt, slipper and hat in a row in front of him. Instruct him to put on the mitten. Does he put it on? Help him if you need to. Does he know where it goes? Repeat this with the slipper and hat. Praise him every time he tries to do something correctly.

What this teaches:

  • listening to and following directions
  • building vocabulary
  • associating words with objects
  • confidence and independence

Some of these activities are from a favorite activity book of mine, Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander. Visit here to purchase this wonderful resource.

New Product Recalls to Watch

The biggest story in the world of baby recalls this month has been the recall of Infant Cold and Cough Medicines. Check out this important information here. (Password GimeGoodies)

So far, there have been over 15 toy recalls in November. Click here for a complete list with photos and details.

The Amazing Infant

Researchers in the University of California, San Diego believe they can prove that infants can recognize their mothers by smell. In fact, they argue it is one of the earliest memories a baby has. Read the whole article here.

Kristen from CA asks:

My baby is a week old and has started scratching her face accidentally. I know I need to trim her nails, but am terrified of using the clippers. Do you have any suggestions to help?

Sadly, I have to confess that when my first, Lauren, was a few weeks old, my husband (I'm not just passing the buck, it really was my husband) did accidentally trim a little too close despite using baby clippers.

After tears (that were mostly mine) we vowed to find a better way. We tried socks on her hands, which did work, but looked funny. Then there were special mittens from Target, but those kept falling off. The final solution (and best by far) was to file down her nails instead of cutting them. You can use your own emery boards or purchase them in a baby grooming kit (like this American Red Cross Deluxe Health and Grooming Kit). Scratches are gone, fingers are whole. Everyone wins!

Do you have a question I can help with? Submit it here.

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (well…almost)

I really cannot stop singing the praises of my newest discovery, Robeez shoes. These shoes are soft leather (durable) with an elastic band that gently hugs the ankle. This elastics enables you to purchase shoes slightly too big. She will have time to grow into the slipper-like shoes and they won't fall off her feet.

The loose leather design also prevents constriction on the toes, which can lead to malformations and walking problems. They are machine washable and incredibly cute. They are slightly more expensive than other shoes, but since they can be worn for months, the price is worth it. These high-quality and long-lasting benefits make purchasing these shoes worth considering.

Here are just two of the hundreds of design styles available.

Robeez Mary Jane Pink Baby Shoes

Robeez Mary Jane Pink Baby Shoes

Robeez Firetruck Navy Shoes

Robeez Firetruck Navy Shoes

Creating Your "Mom" Signature Smell

Did you ever have a loved one pass away, only to "revisit" years later when you caught a whiff of a particular scent? What will my children smell that reminds them of me? Rather than sit back and hope it's pleasant, I've decided to proactively fight for a good smell.

After considering vanilla, lavender, and lily of the valley, I chose…rose. It's refreshing, feminine, and it reminds me of bubble baths on snowy days (an old memory). The scent is never overpowering, but has this old-fashioned classy aspect to it. Not only does it smell nice, rose is a rich source of Vitamin C and a natural anti-oxidant that helps keep my skin healthy.

To get your own "Rose" scent, try Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizer (40 ml)

If the old adage, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is actually true, unique scents like Cinnamon Buns, Raspberry Sorbet, Frozen Lemon Custard, Blackberry, Vanilla Birthday Cake and many others by Philosophy may just land you another infant!

Check them all out here. You're bound to find your "signature" among these sigh-ingly good scents.

Philosophy also offers more heavenly scents like Purity Made Simple, Baby Grace, Inner Grace and best-selling Amazing Grace.

These products are all from, my favorite beauty store on the web. Why is it my favorite beauty store on the web?

  • 30-day no-hassle returns. If I don't like it, I can return it (even opened) within 30 days for a full refund (minus shipping). This is your License to Try.
  • Thousands of high-quality awesome products for any budget.
  • Free shipping.
  • 115% price guarantee. If I find the same product cheaper somewhere else, they'll pay me 115% of the difference.

All I Want for Christmas is…

What do you want for Christmas? What are you getting your infant for Christmas?

I would love to hear about it! Please share them with me so I can share them with others.

Thanks for reading The Merry Mother. Check The Essential Resource for Moms for more interesting articles, touching photographs, and amusing stories.

Look for the next issue of The Merry Mother on December 8th, 2007. And don't forget to forward this one! God bless you this Thanksgiving.

Contact Me

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Know Someone with a Baby? Forward this on!

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Where It All Starts

The Merry Mother is a part of the growing network of articles and resources found at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms.

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