Meals made ezpz

When we started our son on solids we didn’t buy a lot of fancy feeding dishes/utensils.  We had 2-3 bibs, 3 baby/toddler sized bowls, two divided plates, and a handful of silverware.  We taught our son to eat using our dishes and magically he never even thought about throwing a dish or food.  We were lucky! When I heard about the ezpz less mess Happy Mat in the Fall of 2014 I thought it sounded like a great idea.  The ezpz less mess Happy Mat has been hyped up as a “game changer”.  I was first introduced to the product by The Baby Guy NYC (Jamie Grayson) when he posted his video of the Happy Mat during their Kickstarter phase of development.  Jamie’s video focused on the suction function of the mat which, in part, helps to prevent children from throwing their dishes.  This is where I stopped looking.  My toddler didn’t need to be prevented from throwing his plates.  When it popped up in my news feed on Facebook many months later, after achieving full Kickstarter funding, I took a closer look.  I wasn’t interested in it for our family, but I was intrigued for my clients.  The more I looked at the Happy Mat, the more I realized the brilliance of the design.  The Happy Mat is terrific for children who don’t want food to touch, teaching parents correct portion size for children (and adults), and for anyone who has any challenges that make feeding physically difficult.  The ezpz less mess mats do all of this and more, but I still didn’t want to spend the money on the product.  After all, one Happy Mat costs $25 and I probably spent the same amount on ALL of my toddler dining pieces combined. Still thinking about just how wonderful a tool the mat would be from a nutrition standpoint, I joined a small test group for ezpz and learned more about their product.  We had the opportunity to test out some concept designs as well as the Happy Mat.  I dutifully ordered the concept products and a Happy Mat still thinking it would just be about reviewing the product from a health coach perspective. When our mats arrived I was excited to try them, but you know who was even more excited?  Our toddler!  He was, and is still, enamored with them.  The colors are fun, vibrant, and...
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Choosing an Activity Tracker Part 2: Fitbit One

If you haven’t read Choosing an Activity Tracker Part 1: Introduction make sure you head there first. By the time I, I mean the washer, destroyed Nate’s pedometer new activity trackers were hitting the market and were “all the rave”.  I will fess up and say that I bought into the hype and purchased my first activity tracker – a Fitbit One.  I looked at the wrist trackers, the clips, all different brands, ones with and without displays, and it all came down to wanting an accurate tracker at the end of the day.  After all, I was coming from using the Omron pedometer that was Accurate with a capital A.  Fitbit is the brand known for accuracy in the activity tracker world. Thank you for noticing the accuracy of the Fitbit. We put a lot of effort into making sure the Fitbit is accurate! – Fitbit executive in a conversation with Nate From everything I read, the trackers that you clip to your waistband, bra, or pocket are more accurate than the wrist trackers so that is what I went with.  The One clips to the waistband, belt, pocket, or bra of the wearer and it has a display so I can just glance down and see my step count, floors climbed, distance, and calories without needing an app or my phone.  The One also came with a nifty wristband to wear at night for tracking sleep and for use as an alarm clock.  I used this for awhile, but realized that I didn’t care as much about sleep tracking as I did activity tracking during the day (and I lost the wristband). Now if you remember from Part 1, I could take a specific number of steps and the Omron pedometer was 100% accurate.  I did the same test with the Fitbit One and it passed with flying colors. Actual Steps Taken Omron Pedometer: Steps Recorded Fitbit One: Steps Recorded 50 50 51 100 (Trial 1) 100 99 100 (Trial 2) 100 101 These results are close enough for me and I have been happily using my Fitbit One since August 2013.  I can honestly say that I love my Fitbit One and would buy another in a heartbeat if I lost mine or broke it somehow.  If I were to hand out ratings on battery life, accuracy, ease of use, and durability this is what the...
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Choosing an Activity Tracker Part 1: Introduction

I have been posting on Facebook for weeks about wearing multiple activity trackers.  This inaugural post in the series will review one of my first “activity trackers”.  As we go through the series, I will introduce you to several common trackers on the market today and explain some of the pros and cons of each.  Obviously I don’t have an unlimited budget so I only tested a few, but this should give you an idea of the pros and cons for several popular brands and types. When I first started exercising I used a regular, inexpensive pedometer like the type you would find at Target or Walmart for $10-$20. After awhile I wanted something that would download data to my computer and Nate and I both purchased the Omron Pocket Pedometer.  The Omron pedometer is fabulous, basic, easy to use and see, and most of all – it is accurate.  I know this because the researcher in me tested the accuracy.  I walked all over counting my steps – flat surfaces, turning around, up and down stairs, walking fast, and walking slow. Check out the results below:   Number of Steps Taken: Omron Pedometer Recorded: 50 steps 50 steps 60 steps 60 steps 100 steps 100 steps As you can see, it was accurate step for step. It is a bit bulky, but it doesn’t need to be charged and takes a standard CR2032 battery that lasts for a very long time.  The pedometer comes with a belt clip, but at some point (recently) I lost the clip so I can’t show you a picture of that here.  The newer versions appear to be less bulky and are compatible with the new Omron app.       I did eventually upgrade to my current tracker, but only because Nate’s Omron pedometer went through the wash more than once and didn’t fare so well (oops). I gave him mine and began the search for a newer activity tracker. Curious what I bought? Read Choosing an Activity Tracker Part 2.   (Affiliate links used in this post)...
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“Sleep like a baby”

As a mom, I will tell you that “Sleep like a baby” is one of the most misleading phrases I have ever heard.  I don’t know about your baby, but our “baby” still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night at 3.5-years-old!  Sleep is a topic that is often fraught with strong opinions, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, hope, breath-holding, and tiptoeing.  My hope is to allay some of your fears and anxiety and encourage you to be creative. Before our son arrived our doula did a wonderful job of trying to help us understand the intricacies of infant sleep.  She talked to us about co-sleeping and room-sharing.  Even after those discussions and reading The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Rest for the Whole Family (Sears Parenting Library) we still naively thought that our baby wouldn’t “sleep like a baby”.  We thought he would sleep like an adult. We were in for a rude awakening.  The first night in the hospital was pretty perfect.  I stayed awake all night holding him (much to the nurse’s stern disapproval – she told me I would spoil him), nursing him, and gazing at his perfect little body.  After 5 years of patience very few things could have pried him from my arms.  He dozed and nursed all night.  The second night was fairly similar, and then we went home. We found out that it is that third night that often takes parents by surprise.  This is when babies really start waking more frequently and wanting to nurse more often.  Somewhere in there they also find their lungs and make use of them during those middle of the night diaper changes and feedings that don’t happen fast enough.  None of that bothered me.  I was so in love and thrilled that our baby was finally here that it was an absolute pleasure to be awake all night.  As we learned how to breastfeed, pump, and master diaper changes we continued on that sleepless path and we were content (thank goodness for those good mama hormones!). I got a lot of smiles and hugs in those early weeks.  Everyone expects a new mom and dad to be exhausted, but almost everyone assured me that sleep got MUCH better around 6 months.  Our baby had dairy sensitivities so from about 6 weeks until 12 months we were up all night every night...
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Creating a Positive Global Parenting Village

It takes a village to raise a child. This afternoon I finished writing an article about the importance of having a parenting village.  In the article I provided links showing clear evidence that having a village to rely on can reduce stress levels in parents, can improve birth outcomes for expectant parents, and actually decrease the likelihood of postpartum depression.  Then I read the following post on Facebook who was a victim of “drive by judging”. Just took 3 children to swim practice at 8 am, the playground and then to get oil changed then walked to the mall to purchase the first clothing item for myself that wasn’t from Target in two years because we are going to a wedding and wanted to not look like a tired and old mom in Target clothes, frantically tried things on in only one store because they wouldn’t last long, then took them to the fancy fragile and expensive section of Macy’s and said probably 54 times, please don’t touch, left with wedding gift, fed all three, and herded them and cajoled them to walk back to receive finished car. In the parking lot I had a literally two minute phone conversation with my husband about coordinating evening activities, husband who I have seen 20 minutes a day while he’s on night shifts, then a car passed by and a woman rolled down her window to yell at me “Get off the phone and take care of your kid!” I came home and cried in the closet. All three children were safe, walking to the side with me and crossing a road with a speed limit of 19 and no traffic as I watched for cars. It was a drive by judging. I know I don’t have the thickest skin but someone hurling criticism about my parenting from a passing car still stings a bit. Ugh. I’m going to make it a point to encourage other moms today to make up for this judge and run woman who is still on the loose! – posted to Facebook by a mom If there is documented evidence on the importance of a village why must we, as parents and human beings, continue to tear down other parents?  There are a slew of articles out there written by moms to moms criticizing choices they are making, telling them to be more involved or less...
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Summer Nights

Without even looking at the calendar, I can confidently tell you that summer has arrived in South Carolina.  Hot temperatures and the bright sun make daily outdoor adventures with small children a little more challenging than usual.  One of the biggest challenges is that little ones are more sensitive to the sun than grownups.  Children get overheated faster than adults and can be more susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.  This doesn’t mean that you have to stay indoors all summer if you live in a hot climate though.  It just means that you need to take some precautions, like taking plenty of water breaks and adjusting the times of day you are outside. In our family, we like to go to shaded parks early in the morning before the heat of the day hits.  The kids can all play for awhile in the cooler temperatures and then take a break for a picnic lunch.  I always make sure to pack plenty of cold water and ask my son to take plenty of breaks before we stop for lunch.  We use a camelbak backpack so he can just run up to me, take a couple of sips, and quickly get back to the business of playing.  After lunch, we usually head home for a homemade popsicle (just his normal green smoothie frozen in a mold), a shower to cool off and erase the grime of park play, more water, and a nap. As the weather gets warmer, these brief mornings outside just aren’t enough, but the afternoons can be too hot to be outside, even if we are playing in the water.  This is when we really try to make sure to get in our after dinner family walk.  We can put our son in the jogging stroller with some water and an after dinner treat (usually some fruit or a carrot) and get a little more outside time as it begins to cool off.  When he was younger, we put him in his Ergo, Moby, or Boba carrier and set off.  As he has grown, he likes these evening strolls in his stroller (probably because this is the only time we ever use a stroller).  The walk helps our son to begin calming down before bedtime and lets the adults get some exercise.  Best of all, the whole family can enjoy some good conversation during the walk....
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