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Saving Stained Shirts from the Garbage Heap

You know when a favorite shirt gets a stain that won’t come out and you just want to scream ’cause it was so cute and you can’t believe that yet another shirt is ruined and you swear that you’ll never buy another light colored shirt again….

Rocket_shirt_2

Yup, it happened again.  This time it was a light blue T-shirt of Drew’s that looked so nice with his blue eyes that I couldn’t bring myself to toss it.  So I rescued it - with a rocket applique made from ripped jeans, an old sweater and fabric from a vintage apron. 

The magic bullet for making appliques is Heat n Bond iron-on adhesive.  Iron it onto your applique, then peel off the paper backing and iron it onto the shirt.  It’s that easy!  I sew around the edges too because I like the look of the stitching, but it’s not necessary.

My only regret with this project was that the edges of the jean material did fray a bit.  If I did it again, I would turn the material under.  Or pick a material that does not fray.  Now that I’ve got the applique bug I’ve got a big pile of old clothes and fabrics ready for action.  It’s a fun, creative and EASY way to salvage stained clothes and keep them out of the garbage heap!

Need a Getaway? Go on a Babymoon!

For me, part of being Art Mama is creating a joyful, fun and entertaining lifestyle for my family, and I believe that it starts with my relationship with my husband—and perhaps most importantly, myself. So that is why when I was 5 months pregnant, we decided to go to one of my favorite places—Mexico!

At that time “babymoon” was a humorous thing to call it, as it was a new term I had just run across. But indeed, that certainly was what it was, and I am so grateful I took advantage of it and immersed myself in its concept. The intent of a babymoon is to enjoy one last vacation together as a couple before your little addition arrives, (changing life as you know it!). My belief on top of that is to nurture yourself during one of the most important times in your life, during your pregnancy, when it is a time that is all about YOU. It is a time for rest, relaxation, reflection, dreaming, wish-list making, and pampering. And going on vacation to a favorite spot with your hubby is the perfect way to indulge in all of this. Spending time together to reconnect is also a special way to share your pregnancy with your husband.

Now babymoons are a popular trend in the vacation industry, with lots of information and travel guides to find online. Sites like BabymoonGuide.com and BabyMoonFinder.com offer a one-stop shopping source for finding the perfect babymoon destination. Specific resort packages all over the U.S. and in some tropical areas that cater to expecting couples now include everything from side-by-side couple massages, romantic dinners, prenatal yoga classes, and even Lamaze classes. BabymoonGuide.com also offers an area for people to share their babymoon experiences.

Travel sites like Frommers and Suite101 offer trip planning tips and other useful information to encourage parents-to-be to get away.

An article on iVillage Parenting shares the best babymoon packages, such as the “Mother in Balance” package in Arizona at the Miraval Resort and Spa, or La Costa Golf Resort in Southern California . These include classes and workshops on pregnancy nutrition, fitness, and pre and post-natal life, as well as perks such as use of the spa and pre-natal massage.

Or you can always wing it like I did and go to one of your favorite places and do all of your favorite pampering things! For me it was walking on the beach, swimming, napping, and eating Mexican food (and drinking virgin Piña Coladas during happy hour)!

Either way, it’s a trip of a lifetime. We went with my parents and sister and brother’s family. So one day my mom, sister and I painted Mexican pottery items as keepsakes for the baby. If you go, I encourage you to take lots of photos, maybe keep a journal of your daily activities and thoughts, and make or acquire a keepsake for your little one on the way. It will be a time for the whole family to always remember. But most of all, happy mommies and daddies have happy babies!

Music to Our Bellies

As a long-time music lover, I always enjoyed hearing stories about pregnant women who played music to their bellies only to have that child later become a musical prodigy. One friend told me a story about a husband who played his guitar right up against his wife's pregnant belly and their son became a guitar whiz. Unfortunately, I only appreciate music, and besides my wishlist accomplishment of learning to play the cello for a brief stint, and my husband's attempt to learn the bass guitar, we can only play our eclectic mix of CD's like the best of them.

Of course I want to believe that music-lovers and musicians will raise the same. And it makes sense, doesn't it, that if we expose our little ones to music of all types when they are dancing and tumbling around in the womb, they will come out as natural born appreciators of music. But I was interested to see if there were studies on this topic, and "hear" is what I found out….

It is a common belief that if you play calming music or lullabies to your baby in utero–for instance, placing your iPod headphones on the belly–your little peanut will react by kicking and moving, or becoming suddenly still, especially in the third trimester. Some even believe that music played while in the womb will be remembered by the baby up to a year after birth.

According to an article on SmartMommy.com , it is believed that in the 7th month of pregnancy, the soothing sounds of music in the womb can stimulate your baby's ear, brain and body development in preparation for sound and language comprehension. Thomas Verny, M.D., author of The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (Dell, 1994) said, "Musicologists seem to agree that rhythms, similar to the mother's heartbeat, have the most calming effect" on babies in utero. This can also be used as a tool to calm a fussy newborn.

One woman reported to BBC News Health : "I used to have a daily bath and listen to Ella Fitzgerald at 6pm. It was my peace time. When she was born she was very fractious with colic. We used to play Ella Fitzgerald at 3am to try to settle her, and it really worked."

But there are differing opinions on what is called the "Mozart Effect," which says that playing classical music to babies in utero increases brain activity and stimulation, which thereby is an intelligence and IQ booster. An online BBC article –Does Classical Music Make Babies Smarter? — states that "Numerous studies conclude that playing music to babies in the womb and in the early years helps build the neural bridges along which thoughts and information travel. And research suggests it can stimulate the brain's alpha waves, creating a feeling of calm."

It's a fact that a fetus develops their ability to hear 5 months into pregnancy, and can therefore react to sounds outside the womb, but there is no hard evidence that proves that playing classical music is a direct link to higher intellectual development.

In the same BBC article, Professor Paul Robertson, a leading expert in musicology, believes it's important the best music is made available to babies at the earliest possible stage of their growth.

My thoughts are, whether my baby becomes the next little genius or not, it can't hurt to encourage her development with this great source of entertainment (that is far better than TV). If nothing else, it will be a way to bond with your baby before she arrives, and it will definitely be a way to share a fun and necessary form of the Arts for many years to come. So crank up that CD, go to Baby & Me music classes, and enjoy your happy time together!

 

Caffeine and Conception

coffee.jpgFinally,
some real answers… They have just released the results of a new
medical study (done with the help of 1,000 San Fran /Bay Area pregnant
women) that came up with some scary findings.  They concluded that consuming more than 200mg of caffeine a day can doublethe risk of miscarriage!    

But how much is 200mg of caffeine?   Well, here’s the caffeine levels in some common drinks (and other things we consume)…       

  • Starbucks "tall" coffee                                     240mg
  • 2 Excedrin extra strength tablets                     130mg
  • Can of Redbull                                                  76mg
  • 8oz cup of black tea                                         47mg
  • Can of Diet Coke                                               47mg
  • Hersey’s chocolate bar (1.5oz)                         9mg
  • 12oz bottle of Glow Mama                                0mg

The short lived fix/buzz definitely doesn’t seem worth the risk to me.   That’s why Glow Mama has 0mg of caffeine per bottle. 

Any good tips for those looking to quit the caffeine?

Link to the Jan 21st NPR article.

Tips for Starting a New Mommies Group

People have been asking why Glow Mama focuses a lot on new moms groups, and it’s really because they mean so much to me.  They really saved my sanity during my first year of motherhood.  People have also asked for my tips and thoughts, so here goes…   

      1.       Invite babies of a similar age to your own. 

 

This is really more for your sanity than any developmental reason.  Firstly, having a toddler rip every precious ornament off your shelves while your baby is still lying on a blanket is both distracting and a scary reminder of your upcoming baby proofing work.  Secondly, you need sympathetic ears right now.  We all get a bit wiser and calmer as our babies grow into toddlers, so trying to discuss the scary intricacies of first food with a mom of a three year old won’t be that satisfying. 

2.       Invite mommies you like. 

This might sound fairly obvious, but why not grab the last few months of you before life turns into being all about your lovely offspring.  Organizing play dates with children that your child likes will come soon enough.  This is your time. 

3.       Be flexible. momswalking.jpg

Not only do you have ever-changing nap times to contend with, but moms often go back to work or school, or go on vacation.   Going to the baby signing/music/yoga/massage classes together or meeting up for a walk can also be a fun way to still get together and get the support while trying something new. 

4.       Set the boundaries early. 

Whether its rotating around each others’ houses, the simplicity of the host’s nibbles, or the courtesy of rsvp-ing each week…whatever is important to you (all), better to get it out on the table early.   One important issue to figure out early is toy sharing.  Are you comfortable with your toys (and pacifiers and sippy cups) being in every other baby’s mouth or would you rather they brought their own?

5.       Give the mommies some refreshments. 

Whether still nursing or not, motherhood is hard work.  If they’ve managed to get out of the house with the multitude of gear, accessories, clothes (and the baby), and arrived at your place relatively on time, they deserve a reward.  Unless moms are trying to lose the pounds, chocolate cookies always work well.  No one will expect homemade (at least they shouldn’t).  Drinks are a must too, although glasses are a hazard around babies (for their and your carpet’s sake).   A chilled bottle of Glow Mama for everyone is quick, easy, and nutritious.

6.       Pre-tidy the house. 

babyfeet.jpgUnless you’re superwoman, or have help, you’ll have to tidy the house a bit before people arrive.  Especially the floors as that’s where everyone’s attention is drawn to with babies.  If you don’t have time to vacuum at least but down some blankets for the babies to roll, crawl and spit up onto. 

7.       Get a pedicure or some nice socks. 

Speaking of floors and how that’s where everyone is constantly looking… don’t forget that shoes often come off around rolling and crawling babies and no one wants to see ugly toes. 

8.       Be open, frank and honest. 

There really is nothing more intimate or gory than the birthing story, and yet we all love to tell our version in lengthy detail.  After hearing about each other’s procedures, pain and plans, there really shouldn’t be anything you can’t discuss (behind closed doors).  This is the place to get the real answers on nursing pain, sleep deprivation and rekindling things in the bedroom.

9.       Try to cut out the competition.  

Easier said than done, but really, Motherhood is not a competitive sport in the Olympics.  These days a lot of moms are used to a world of climbing on each other and stabbing each other in the back to get ahead - and that’s hard to leave behind for a few months/years.  Remember though, the point of a mommies group is to leave less isolated and exhausted than had you stayed at home.   Babies really do sleep, eat and develop at their own rates.

10.   Get out occasionally without the babies. 

There’s nothing like a couple of hours out after dark in a cool new bar or restaurant to rekindle your spirit as a woman.  And the beauty of meeting up with other new moms is that they’ll forgive you if you turn up late… with spit- up on your shoulder… leaking!  Everyone appreciates the effort (physically and mentally) it’s taken to get out the door, so you’ll all enjoy yourselves so much more.