Cute Nightlights and Efficient Kids’ Room Ideas

Just look at this adorable nightlight from Ikea!

Spoka Night Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ikea has charming, efficient childrens’ room ideas that incorporate the ingenious storage solutions and modern yet comfortable furniture that Ikea is known for. Just go to Ikea.com, click on Children’s Ikea, and click on Children’s Room Ideas. Each room includes a sleeping area, toy storage, play areas (with a children’s table or play kitchen, for example), and a delightful decor that both kids and parents will love. Click on the different sections of each room and short videos play to demonstrate how the storage areas are even more efficient than you ever expected.

Check it out and be inspired!

July 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

Tips for Freezing Foods

One way to simplify your life and increase your frequency of eating homemade, nutritious meals is to double or triple your favorite recipes and freeze the extra food for future meals. Here’s a link to a great reference with freezing tips, guidelines, and more.

http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/freezing-foods-a-real-time-saver/Detail.aspx

Some of my favorite tips from this site:

Foods freeze best (meaning they last longer in the freezer and taste better when thawed) if they are in a sauce or broth. This is why soups are great to keep in the freezer. Everyone knows that when you have soup as a leftover, it’s better the second day, because all the flavors have had time to meld and intermingle. The same thing happens when you freeze a soup. Casseroles and lasagna also freeze well, for the same reason.

My favorite food to freeze is meatballs and sauce. As delicious as they are the first time around, the meatballs are always even tastier as leftovers. I usually make a triple recipe (requires a big pot but it’s worth it!) on a Saturday or Sunday when I have some extra time. Then we have a great dinner that night, and I get to put two dinners’ worth in the freezer for future nights when I need a healthy, filling dinner for my family but have no time to make one.

Cool cooked foods as quickly as possible before placing them in the freezer, to ensure freshness and avoid spoilage.

Leave as little air in the container as possible when freezing. The more air remaining in the container, the greater your chance of freezer burn.

Freeze in small containers (around 1 quart should be the largest size) to make sure food thaws quickly and evenly. You don’t want a huge container of warm food sitting in your freezer. It will raise the temperature of the freezer which affects the other foods surrounding it. This also increases the risk of bacteria growth. As a rule, food that is two inches thick takes about 2 hours to freeze completely.

The best way to thaw foods is in the refrigerator. If you can, put the frozen food in the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. This way it will thaw slowly with minimal risk of any bacteria showing up. It will be fully thawed and guaranteed fresh and delicious when you’re ready to heat it up the following evening. (Note – Thawing at room temperature carries a high risk of bacteria growth.)

June 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

The unofficial beginning of summer

Memorial Day 2011

There can’t be anything more magical for a parent than seeing your child discover the joys of summer. Today we celebrated Memorial Day by visiting my parents-in-law. They ran out and bought a little plastic kiddie pool and a swim suit for my daughter, so that she could have her first time in a pool, right there in the backyard. We carefully placed her in the lukewarm water as everyone crowded around her with cameras. She grinned up at all of us, squinting in the sunshine and splashing in the water. Her joy was obvious as she felt the water with her tiny hands while the hot sun shone on her shoulders. We don’t have any pool toys for her yet so we handed her a little paper cup that she could use to scoop up water and play.

Here’s to summer and to the magic of rediscovering this beautiful time of year through the eyes of a child!

May 31, 2011 at 2:06 am Leave a comment

Inspiration and Strawberry Muffins

There are certain things in life that always make me feel inspired and motivated. Listening to my baby’s laughter makes me focus on what’s really important in life. Yoga brings me back to earth and centers me. Browsing through a bookstore fills me with possibilities. Listening to the summertime leaves rustling in the treetops slows my hurried thoughts and clears my mind.

If I had to choose one website that falls into this inspirational category, it would be Weelicious.com. Its premise is that you can make healthy homemade food that your family will love, even on a hectic schedule. That in itself is quite inspiring, and if you read through some of Weelicious creator Catherine’s recipes, you’ll see that they really are kid-friendly, and quick to make, and healthy as well. She encourages parents to include children in cooking so that they learn about healthy eating choices and take a real interest in their food choices. The site is very well-organized, and has a search function, so you can easily find a recipe for any need you might have.

Weelicious has plenty of healthy and creative recipes for homemade baby food. You can click on the “Recipes 6-9 months” or “Recipes 10-12 months” to find age-appropriate recipes for your little one. Check out the Banana Molasses Oatmeal Mash (a 6-9 month recipe). Sounds scrumptious! There are some fantastic (and seriously tasty) recipe ideas here. Not your standard steamed and pureed green beans.

But you really have to explore this website on your own because there are so many facets to it other than recipes. Catherine offers tips for getting kids to try new foods; information on allergens and when to introduce certain foods to baby; and cooking videos with her kids. There’s a great Q&A section where Weelicious readers can ask Catherine their own personal questions and she writes back with tips and advice, such as suggestions for different creative foods to tempt a 9 month old baby’s taste buds.

So when I bought beautiful fresh strawberries at my local produce stand, I went straight to Weelicious for inspiration. I was not disappointed. Catherine’s strawberry muffin recipe is unique (it includes honey and lemon zest) and creates a delicious muffin without too much sugar. It was easy for me to make a dairy-free version by using soy milk instead of regular milk, with no effect on the taste. I brought a bunch into work and they disappeared very quickly. Here’s the link to the recipe: http://weelicious.com/2010/05/17/strawberry-muffins/.

Delicious Strawberry Muffins!

I used 2 cups of strawberries instead of 1.5 as the recipe calls for. The strawberries just looked so delicious, I wanted to pack the muffins full of them. Luckily this turned out fine. Also as you can see, I probably could have filled the muffin cups a little fuller. I got 17 full-size muffins out of the recipe, but probably could have filled the cups more and had 12 larger muffins.

Either way I was very happy with the result. My 17 muffins are long gone, so I’m getting ready to make another (double) batch tonight to share with family and friends over the Memorial Day weekend. Yum!!

May 28, 2011 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

Finding a Babysitter

So we have our daycare and we have family members who are often willing to babysit. But who will watch our baby when the daycare isn’t open and my mom has other plans and my sister-in-law has to work?

Sittercity.com is a website that links parents who need a sitter with babysitters who want a job.

If you’re a parent who has been stuck without child care at one time or another, this website is definitely worth checking out. The prices for their services are reasonable. But first, go into the site and do a search for sitters in your city/town. You can find out right away if there are providers who you may want to contact. Even without becoming a member, you can view the sitters’ background, experience with children, age and education, a photo, their rates, and their skills and certifications. If you see a few who you might want to speak with, you can obtain their contact information by becoming a member for $35 for one month (other plans are available for longer time periods).

Another alternative is to post your babysitting job and let the sitters come to you. This can be done with a 7-day free trial, so you can see who applies to your job and view their pictures and experience. You do have to pay in order to see your applicants’ contact info. But this option allows you to find out if there are babysitters out there who are really interested in working for you, and who have the qualifications you’re looking for, before you pay any money.

Sittercity.com also has a section on “How to Hire the Right Sitter” and “Tips & Tools for Parents” with some good suggestions, including a list of babysitter interview questions and a list of questions to ask when calling your sitter’s references. Additionally, the website can connect you with individuals who offer pet care, senior care, housekeeping, and tutoring services.

May 25, 2011 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

Beautiful Children’s Clothing

I love looking at baby clothes. Who doesn’t? They’re so adorable, little delicate miniature versions of adult clothes, in super-soft fabrics with adorable patterns and accents. (I’m partial to little girls’ clothes, but that may be because I have an eight-month-old daughter.)

The website Zulily (www.zulily.com) features children’s clothes, accessories, and other products, PLUS clothes and accessories for moms, including nursing and maternity apparel. Better yet – it’s all on sale. The sales are constantly changing and last 72 hours each. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, you’ll receive daily emails notifying you of the current sales. So you get pictures of adorable kids’ clothes delivered to your inbox every day! Browse away at your leisure, and make purchases if you want (no obligation to purchase anything).

Here is a beautiful dress for $17.99 by Rare Editions. For sizes 2T and 3T. This is the perfect eye-catching yet casual summer dress for a little girl to romp and play in.

Bright Floral Babydoll Dress by Rare Editions

These cute, shiny Mary Janes look comfy too! The sizes range from newborn to 12 months. At $19.99 they’re a little pricey for infant shoes, but they’re oh-so-adorable!

Pink Jordan Mary Jane by One Ruby Lane

Check out this bebePOD by Prince Lionheart. It’s a sweet little seat for your baby to hang out in when you’re visiting friends or family, in a restaurant, or just at home when you need baby to sit up safely and securely. Very cute and not a bad price at $36.99.

bebePOD by Prince Lionheart

Have fun shopping!

May 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

Child’s Room Decorating Ideas

Sweet Sleeper (photograph by Spigoo)

Sleeping babies are so beautiful. This little one looks like he just passed out from sheer exhaustion right on the spot.

We recently moved into a new house. Of course, the first room on our list to fully furnish and decorate is our daughter’s bedroom. She is 8 months old, very observant and aware of her surroundings, so my husband and I want to decorate her room in a way that is calming, so she can relax and sleep peacefully there, but also in a way that will be developmentally stimulating, a room where lots of fun and learning will take place.

The Land of Nod has so many beautiful and unique options for kids’ furniture, as well as creative decorating ideas. Check out their room decor collection at http://www.landofnod.com/kids-room-decor/. They have the most amazing wall art for kids’ rooms. Some of the items are educational, like the All Together Alphabet and the Get it out of Your Solar System pictures. Others are fun and fanciful. And others have important reminders for kids: “Brush Your Teeth (by order of Management).”

They offer gorgeous wall decals. My absolute favorite is the tree decal set. It comes complete with birds and butterflies that can sit in the trees, a 45 inch high tree and a 65 inch high tree.

Land of Nod Tree Decal Set

What great kids’ room decorating ideas do you have? Feel free to share some pictures of your child’s room in the comments section!

May 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

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