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UltimateMama wants all of you to read the recently released Nursery Product Recall study by Kids In Danger, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on children’s safety.   

You will find a buffet of information on 2009 children’s product recalls.

Do it for your child!

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UltimateMama and her family enjoy staying in condos when on vacation. She always makes grocery lists in advance so that she can swing by the grocery store and stock up on necessities for her family before checking into her condo. That way, all she needs to do is supplement here and there as the week progresses.  Also, there is no temptation to buy unnecessary items. 

By creating the grocery list a few days before she leaves for her trip she can also discuss the items on the list with her children who like to offer their input. This is a great way to involve the whole family in the process of meal-planning as well as get them excited for their upcoming vacation.

Below is a sample Grocery List for UltimateMama’s upcoming trip to Florida:

– Berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
– Bananas
– Apples
– Kiwi
– Oranges
– Lemon
– Cucumber
– Broccoli
– Garlic
– Carrots
 
– Pancake mix
– Syrup
– Cheerios
– Barbara’s Puffins cereal
– Fruit spread
– Peanut butter
 
– Ham
– Ground chuck, veal, pork (1 pound each)
– Salmon (1.25 lb)
 
– Apple sauce
– 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
– 1 can tomato paste
– Tomato sauce
– Olive oil
– Pam spray
 
– Thinly sliced whole wheat bread
– Rice cakes
– Pizza crust
 
– 2 dozen eggs
– Turkey bacon
– Cottage cheese with pineapple
– Mild Cheddar cheese
– String Cheese
– Mozzarella cheese
– 1 gallon Skim Milk
– 4 half-gallons of organic milk (or 2 gallons)
– Stoneyfield Farm Yogurt (big vanilla and small travel packs)
 
– Raisins
– Bottled water
 
– Size 4 diapers (Pampers)
– Size 5 diapers (Huggies overnights)
– Kandoo wipes
– Pampers sensitive wipes
– Desitin
– Sunscreen
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UltimateMama enjoys helping with group class projects that are auctioned off to raise money for the school.

UltimateMama has a few creative group project ideas for your tots:

– Photo Puzzle – Take a class photo and convert it to a puzzle through any photo service.  Some photo services allow you to make “chunky” puzzles which may be easier for your toddler’s hands.  Also, you may be able to customize the puzzle by superimposing the school logo over the puzzle.

– Caricatures – If one of the parents in your class happens to be a caricature artist you may be in luck to do such a project!  The parent can do individual caricatures of the children and then the project can be framed and hung.

– Painted Toy Chest – Purchase a bare wood toy chest at a bare furniture store.  Paint the toy chest a cream color or something neutral. Have the teacher or parent helper paint each child’s hand or foot a primary or fun color (red, blue, yellow, etc.) and have the kids put their HAND or FEET
prints on the toy chest.  Use a permanent pen or paint pen and write each student’s names under their prints.

– Platter – Purchase a plain white ceramic platter (or serving dish or plate) and have the kids decorate it with paint and put their names underneath their little “paint marks”.  Many “paint your own pottery or plastercraft” stores will be able to help you out – and you may get a discount if you mention it is for a school fundraiser!

Photo calendar of the class.  Use an online photo center such as Shutterfly or Kodak and create a photo calendar of the school year.  Have all parents send in their favorite school-related pictures from the year! 

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UltimateMama will be the first to admit she was never one to jump on the holiday bandwagon and don pink and red at Valentine’s Day or orange and black at Halloween.  As a matter of fact, your UltimateMama used to make fun of such adults.  However, now that UltimateMama is a parent she realizes the importance and fun of getting into the holiday spirit albeit on a conservative basis.

Trust UltimateMama, you will never see her wearing a Mrs. Claus sweater at Christmastime. But, you will see her holiday cheer several times a year!  And, she makes sure her little ones always wear appropriate and cheerful holiday attire.

UltimateMama’s tips for holiday attire for mommy and daddy:

– Valentine’s Day:  Mommy – wear red, pink, or socks with hearts; Daddy – wear a red tie or socks with hearts.

– St. Patrick’s Day:  Mommy – wear a green shirt and/or socks; Daddy – wear a green shirt or tie and/or socks.

– Easter:  Mommy and Daddy will likely don their Sunday best, along with the kiddies.

– 4th of July:  Mommy and Daddy should wear red, white, and blue clothing or items (pins, shirts) with the American flag.

– Halloween:  Mommy – wear orange or black, or socks with pumpkins; Daddy – wear an orange tie with a dark suit, or socks with bats.  Or, you can always dress in costume!

– Chanukkah:  Mommy and Daddy can have fun wearing blue and white or silver at parties.

– Christmas:  Mommy – wear a nice red or green sweater, blouse or turtleneck with fun Christmas tree socks; Daddy – wear a nice red or green sweater, blouse or turtleneck with fun reindeer socks.

*UltimateMama would like to note that mommy could always “glam it up” for the holidays with fun necklaces, bracelets, pins, and scarves. Also, mommy and daddy could wear spirited holiday pajamas, just like the kids!

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UltimateMama likes to pack in advance – surprise, surprise! And, she always reads the latest updates on airport security from the TSA

Guess what?!  Baby formula is allowed on airplanes as is breast milk. Even baby food is acceptable for air travel.  However, do yourself and everyone else in line a favor and declare all baby related items at the checkpoint right away. 

For a list of acceptable items for carry-ons as well as packing tips please visit the Transportation Security Administration’s site:  http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm

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UltimateMama realizes that holidays do not have to be all about candy!  Your child will be surprised when they wake up to see a nicely stuffed basket full of non-edible treats, trust your UltimateMama.

Here are a few suggestions from UltimateMama for alternative Easter basket items:

– Books

– Fun character toothbrushes

– Brightly colored socks or underwear

– Stickers

– Bookmarks

– Headbands for hair clips (bunnies, rabbits, chicks, etc.)

– Bubbles

– Sidewalk chalk

– Jump ropes

– Balls, baseball gloves

– Baseball hats

– Art supplies (crayons, markers, glitter pens, paint)

– Coloring books

– Journals

– Purses

– Chapstick or lip gloss

– T-shirts

– Flash cards

– Washcloths, towels, beach towels

– Fun toys, such as Mr. Potato Head

Head
– Games (Memory, Chutes and Ladders, Cranium Cariboo Island game)

Game

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UltimateMama loves cooking one-pot dishes for her family. She tends to serve the dish then freeze the rest for another day!  UltimateMama’s kids enjoy this easy chicken tagine or chicken stew recipe because it is warm and sweet.  UltimateMama loves the fact that it is packed with nutrients.

UltimateMama’s Easy Chicken Tagine or Easy Chicken Stew recipe as follows:

 

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped 

• 1 teaspoon ground ginger

• 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

• 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes

• 1 Fuji apple without the skin that is diced 
• 1 cup of carrots, diced (save yourself time and used the baby ones)
• 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
• 1 red pepper, remove seeds and cut into cubes or thin strips
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
• 1 large beefsteak tomato, cubed

• 1 can garbanzo beans, drained (15 oz can)
• 2 cups chicken broth 

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 2 tablespoons orange juice 
• 2 large figs 

1. Get a heavy pot with a lid and heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, ginger, and garlic cloves for about 4 minutes.

2. Add the chicken breast and cook all sides, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the apple, carrot, parsnip, red pepper, sweet potato, tomato, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and broth.

4.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the cinnamon, orange juice, and figs. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 35-45 minutes. Make sure chicken and vegetables are tender, especially parsnip and carrot.   

5. Serve some and freeze the rest for another meal! You can serve it with rice, couscous, noodles, or alone!

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Spring has almost sprung and once again daylight savings time is upon us.  Daylight savings time is this weekend – 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 14th to be exact. 

Some kids go with the flow when it comes to a time change. Others may take a few days.  Whatever the case, your child will quickly adjust to the time change.

UltimateMama has a few tips to help your child adjust to their new schedule:

– Routine, routine, routine!  Keep your nighttime routine the same (dinner, bath, brushing teeth, story, bed).

– When your child wakes up on Sunday morning try to keep to the schedule that you had before (for example, keep breakfast at 8 AM if that is your usual eating time).

– If your child doesn’t completely adjust to their new napping time, do not fret because they will within days.  If they are fifteen minutes or half an hour off their usual time that is completely normal.

– Keep your child busy during the day so they are a little extra tired for bedtime (and thus more cooperative!).

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Surprise, surprise, educational DVDs not only are useless for teaching infants language skills but also may impair language development.  According to ScienceDaily, the May print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine will provide the full report on this topic. 

UltimateMama believes the best way to teach your child language skills and build their vocabulary is by reading to them and talking to them.  Plopping your child in front of a television and putting in a so-called educational DVD is a great way to hinder, not help your child’s verbal development. 

UltimateMama is always amazed by clueless parents who think Baby Einstein is actually educational for their child. Even Baby Einstein has publicly stated that it is not educational.  

Parents, if you want a babysitter who engages your child then hire one and do not expect the television to do that job!  And if you want to spend money to buy a special treat for your child then buy some books.  Reading to your child regardless their age not only helps build vocabulary but also strengthens the parent-child bond.

To take a look at the abstract detailing the recent findings of the study on Educational DVDs and infants from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine click on the link below: 

http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/2010.24?home

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UltimateMama was surprised to find out that a new mother who was a long-time friend of hers did not know that she had to care for her infant baby’s gums.  UltimateMama wants you all to know that you must take care of your baby’s gums right after birth.  Additionally, you need to instill brushing teeth into your baby’s routine right away so that when they do have teeth it won’t be a surprise to them to feel a toothbrush in their mouths.

UltimateMama offers a few tips for caring for your child’s gums and teeth:

– Right after birth start wiping your baby’s gums after feedings with a washcloth, gauze, or .  It is important to get your child used to having their mouth looked at or checked.

Gum
– Keep cleaning your child’s mouth after the first tooth appears.  You can use a soft child toothbrush and water.  Non-fluoride toothpaste is also acceptable for the first few teeth that come in as your young child most likely does not know how to properly spit out fluoride toothpaste. 

– When your child can spit out toothpaste then switch to fluoride toothpaste (usually around 3-4 years of age).  Continue to brush your toddler’s teeth to ensure a thorough cleaning.

– Always supervise your child as they brush their teeth, even as they get older.  It is very important to remove all the plaque from your child’s teeth and mouth. 

– Spend time on brushing your child’s teeth.  A thorough brushing may take up to five minutes as opposed to one minute!

– Try to brush your child’s teeth three times a day, preferably after meals. If three times is too hard to do then make sure you help them brush twice a day (morning and night).

– Brush your child’s tongue for good breath!  This helps to remove bacteria as well.  

– Replace your child’s toothbrush when it appears worn or the bristles become frayed.

–  Make your first trip to the dentist after you researched pediatric dentists in your area.  Ask them what age they begin accepting new patients as it does vary by dentist.  Also, ask them for advice on flossing, braces, spacers, etc.

– Alert your child’s dentist to any history of thumb sucking or pacifier habits.

– Treat your child’s baby teeth with as much respect as you would their permanent teeth.  Instill good brushing habits early on.

– If you want your child to have nice teeth then you should promote a healthy diet.  Encourage them to avoid soda.

– Teach your children about the dangers of tobacco on teeth (and their body as well).

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