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Posts tagged ‘kids’

UltimateMama knows that with the holiday season comes lots of gifts — some loved and many hated.  The most important thing as a parent is that your child's presents are safe. 

UltimateMama wants to share with you a terrific website on safety and product recalls that is a MUST READ for all parents and childcare providers.  This website is essential for soon-to-be parents who are organizing a nursery for their future child.  Before you go on a shopping spree please take a look at this wonderful website that is put together by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission –  The website even details a "most wanted" list of products to avoid – including:

– Playskool Tool Benches

– MagnaMan Figures

– Delta Cribs (Spring Peg)

– Simplicity Cribs

– Kolcraft Play Yards

– MEGA Brands Magnetic Toys


UltimateMama wants you to eliminate the clutter and say goodbye to a life of disarray!

One thing that UltimateMama does not like is an unorganized home.  There should be no need to start a search effort for a specific toy or outfit if you have your child's belongings properly organized.

Below find a few of UltimateMama's quick tips to make your living space functional:

– Bedrooms:  Do not let toys own your child's bedroom.  UltimateMama advises you to teach your children proper clean-up techniques at an early age.  You can make it fun by singing songs while putting toys away in an orderly manner.  UltimateMama loves The Double Folding Mesh Cubes from The Container Store.  These cubes are terrific for storing stuffed animals, lots of balls, and toys of all shapes and sizes!  The cubes which are available in a variety of colors for $14.99 each also fold flat for simple storage.


UltimateMama likes the Spiral Pop-Up Hamper from Bed, Bath & Beyond. This $14.99 hamper which comes in many great colors features an adjustable carrying strap and a mesh laundry bag.  Your children will be excited to toss their clothes into such a great looking hamper.


– Closets:  UltimateMama believes that if you plan to have another child or intend to pass along baby clothing, blankets, and accessories to a family member or friend then you should store the items properly.  Target offers a set of four clear plastic, 66-qt. ClearView storage boxes from Sterilite for $39.99 that are wonderful for storing baby clothing and supplies.  Even though you can see the contents of the boxes since they are clear, UltimateMama recommends labeling each box with details such as the sizes of the clothing or special items enclosed.  Just wash the clothing, fold it nicely, place it in the storage boxes, and put the boxes on a shelf or on the floor of your closet.

– Bathroom:  UltimateMama raves about the Boon Frog Pad by Boon Inc. for $24.99.  Let the children scoop up their bath toys and rinse them off for storage.  The Boon Frog Pad easily attaches to bathroom walls!  UltimateMama loves the design and functionality!


– Seasonal decorations:  UltimateMama recently discovered Ziploc® Brand Big Bags with the Double Zipper Seal are prefect for organizing holiday decorations.  These bags are perfect for storing your seasonal towels, tablecloths, napkins, and placemats.  Additionally, they can be used for keeping track of your child's holiday art projects and costumes.  These super strong bags are great because you can squeeze them into many spots that boxes would never fit.

UltimateMama knows that each fall parents and
children all over the U.S. must embark on the annual ritual of back to school
shopping.  This often daunting task can
be turned into an entertaining lesson about the benefits of green shopping for
our planet.  What a perfect time to teach
your children to preserve their environment by encouraging them to take a green
approach to the task.  Armed with the 3
R’s of waste management – reduce, reuse and recycle, you can educate your
children to be responsible consumers and complete the challenge of getting them
ready for a new school year in the process. 

Nowadays it is cool to be
green.  UltimateMama wants you to keep in mind that going green
does not have to be expensive.  Below are UltimateMama's helpful suggestions and tips for GREEN back to school shopping:

– Shop with reusable bags.  Be good to the planet by avoiding plastic
bags.  Make sure you shop with a study
bag that is big enough for all of supplies. 

– Walk, bike, or take public
transportation.  Use the money saved for
the college fund.

– Stick to recycled paper.  Teach your children to be responsible with
paper.  Encourage them to use computer
printers only when necessary.

– Go for pencils made from re-claimed
wood and refillable pens. 

– Opt for reusable water bottles at
lunchtime.  Fortunately, there are many non-plastic, stylish bottle
alternatives out there for your children to choose. 

– Pack lunches with fresh ingredients
purchased at the Farmers’ Market.  Not
only is buying locally good for your child’s body but also for the

– Cart those books around in a
backpack made from recycled materials. 

– Treat your children to organic
cotton clothing.  Not only is it
extremely comfortable but it is durable as well. 

– Head into a thrift store for
clothing and other miscellaneous supplies. 
You would be surprised how many items that can be found in thrift stores
are new with the original tags attached. 
Besides, many thrift stores have a charitable element to them so your
child is helping the environment and a charity at the same time.

– Ask your friends and family members
for hand-me-down clothing or school supplies and give away any items your
children no longer use or have outgrown.  

– Buy used books.  Take the suggested reading list to a used
bookstores and have fun browsing the shelves. 
Your family will save trees and money. 

UltimateMama knows first hand that bringing home a new sibling
can be a time of both joy and anxiety. 
Less than an hour after my youngest daughter arrived home from the
hospital I remember thinking that 
dealing with a toddler and a newborn is going to be IMPOSSIBLE. 

Now that I am several months into raising two
children I have concluded:  Challenging
-  yes; Impossible -  no. 

Sure having two children in diapers presents some sticky situations (quite literally at times) but
with the right organization and attitude you will have the ability and
confidence to tackle anything these little o
nes throw your way.  Keep in mind that the first few months are
quite rough but with time and order things do get easier. 
Although both children need
your attention in different ways it is possible to nurture them
simultaneously.  It is possible to have a situation in which your baby and tot are in harmony, even during the adjustment period!

Below please find a few
suggestions to  organize your domestic

For brother/sister:

– Appoint the toddler CHO, or Chief
Helping Officer.  Tell them that as CHO
their duties are to do such things as hand you new diapers when changing the
newborn and grab burp clothes when the baby spits up.  Your toddler will love their new set of
responsibilities and bond with you and the new sibling in the process

– Engage in art projects together.  Of course your newborn will not be able to
pick up a crayon and create a mural but your toddler sure can.  While you feed the newborn, stimulate your
toddler’s creative juices by watching them create a masterpiece.  Give them stickers, crayons and construction
paper and encourage them to make pictures for their sibling’s room.  After you finish the newborn’s feeding and
your toddler’s masterpiece is complete, have your toddler show their artwork to
the new baby and hang it up together. 
Your toddler’s pride is priceless. 

– Create “Big Sibling Day”.  Have your toddler wear a big sister or big brother shirt or
pin that either you make or buy and tell them it is their day to show the baby their
favorite things.  Your toddler can pick
out a favorite book and you can read it together.  The baby can touch your toddler’s favorite
stuffed animal or toy while your toddler explains why the object is so special
to them. 

– Photo proof.  Your toddler needs to see that they were
indeed a baby once upon a time.  Bring
out the photo albums and show your toddler pictures of them as a baby.  Compare these pictures to those of your
newborn.  Remind the toddler how they
have grown and explain to them that the baby will grow up as well and that one
day they will be able to play and eat together.  

For mom:  

– Prepare toddler meals the night
before.  As soon as your toddler is
asleep engage in meal preparation including slicing, dicing, and storing.  You may be exhausted as the evening looms but
spending the time to rinse and peel fruits for breakfast, make sandwiches for
lunch, and cut up leftovers for dinner will be extremely helpful the next

Pick out your both baby and toddlers
clothes right after dinner.  Set aside
outfits for your children so that when morning comes all you have to do is grab
from the pile.  This will serve as a
lifesaver after a difficult, sleepless night.  

Clean up messes along the way.  Sleep deprivation makes it tempting to let
dishes pile up but resist the temptation to do so and stack them in your
dishwasher after each meal.  Sweep up any
post-meal crumbs right way.  Put away any
toys, shoes, or baskets that you or your family members may accidentally trip
on if they are not too careful.  Importantly, teach your children to clean up
after themselves as well.

– Keep the changing area and diaper bag
stocked with all necessary supplies.  You
never want to run out of diapers, wipes, or creams.  Make a shopping list and post it to your
refrigerator detailing all needed items and grab the list the next time you
venture to the store. 

– Shop online.  Do you cringe at the thought of dealing with
an infant and a toddler at a store.  As
the parent of two winter babies I would have been lost without the Internet for
many of my shopping needs.  Websites such
as, ,, and  are helpful
for various baby supplies.  Online shopping is especially useful during
your infant’s early days when they may not be ready to step out into the

UltimateMama's Parental Shopping Tip:
UltimateMama has rounded up some of my favorite big
brother/big sister items that will be sure to fill your older
children with pride.

1. "I'm a Big Sister" or "I'm a Big Brother"
book by Joanna Cole:  A must-have for older siblings. This book
describes the arrival of a new baby with a gentle tone.  See the category "Ultimate Books" for the best places to purchase books! 

2. I'm the Big Sister or I'm the Big Brother photo album by Gund.  These
super-soft albums hold twelve 4"x6" pictures.  Your child
will be proud to show off her little sibling to her peers. 


3. Big Sister or Big Brother t-shirts.  Let your child wear the big
news in style.  This is the perfect gift from the newborn baby to her


4. Love Me or My Big Brother Loves Me photo frames.  The perfect addition to your child's room.

UltimateMama created this equation: Farmers' Markets + Kids = Healthy Fun

UltimateMama knows that parents want what is best for their children and food is no
exception.  In these challenging economic times parents struggle to feed
their children healthy meals with fresh ingredients in a cost efficient

not all families can go directly to the farm, many are fortunate to have the
farm come to them.  Exploring Farmers'
Markets together as a family will support local farmers and serve as an
entertaining way to educate children about the health benefits of eating fresh

 09-06-09 Flower Shot-Stone Barns-Great

Farmers’ Markets provide a quick and easy out of classroom lesson plan for
parents.  Parents can teach their
children about colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and tastes by walking around to
the various stands.  Your children will
learn to select items using all of their senses.  

UltimateMama believes that visiting
Farmers’ Markets is a wonderful way to get your food shopping done while teaching
your children the importance of buying locally. 
And once you return home, your children will be excited to make meals or
gift baskets with the fresh ingredients they selected.   

Below are a few suggestions or tips from UltimateMama to keep in mind while shopping at the
Farmers' Market:

– Start early – in terms of age and time.  Farmers’ Markets are fun for
people of all ages.  Even toddlers love
visiting Farmers' Markets to roam around the colorful food items and smell the
fresh flowers and herbs.  Plan ahead and
shop early.  If you arrive first thing in
the morning the selections are better and the crowds are minimal. 

– Shop with reusable bags.  Be good to
the environment by bringing your own reusable bags and avoiding plastic.  Use some of your old tote bags and have your
children decorate their own Farmers’ Markets bags as a simple craft idea.  Your children will have fun creating their
personalized bag that can be used time and time again.  Just make sure it is sturdy enough to handle
all of your goods. 

– Allow
your children to select fruits or vegetables that appeal to them.  If your
children are part of the selection and purchasing process they will be more
excited when it comes to preparing and eating the meal. Teach your children to
make smart choices for their bodies. 

– Encourage your children to be active participants.  Let them SHUCK THAT
CORN while they are outside at the Farmers' Market.  They will have fun
preparing the corn and your kitchen will remain unharmed in the process. 
Plus, you are one step closer to dinner.   

– Make shopping at the Farmers' Market a routine.  Teaching children to
eat well at an early age will hopefully lead to healthier eating habits when
they are older.  The more you visit the
Farmers’ Market, the more your children will feel like it is a part of their

– Visit the Farmers' Market throughout the
year.  Children will learn about the seasonal nature of foods and will
look forward to purchasing "in season" delights.  Create a Farmers' Market calendar with your
children.  After your visits have your children list the foods that they
saw on display and compare the lists with previous trips.  Children love
to make repeat trips to the Farmers' Market to sample seasonal

– Venture out.  Don't just stick to
food.  Many Farmers’ Markets also offer cheeses, breads, syrups,
honey, flowers, herbs and more.  Browse
the stands and show your children the many offerings available.  When you return home from your visits, create
Farmers’ Market placemats or bookmarks. 
Have your children cut out pictures of 
items they saw at the Farmers’ Market from your old magazines, glue them
onto both sides of a piece of colored construction paper, and cover with clear
contact paper.   

– Make friends with the farmers.  Sure children can hear about farming,
nutrition, buying locally, and the environment in a classroom
but encouraging children to talk directly to the farmers at the
various stands is more fun.  Farmers will
share details about their current crop as well as what to expect in upcoming

– Share your Farmers' Market finds with other family members or
friends.  Create seasonal baskets of the goodies you and your children
picked up at recent Farmer's Market trips.  Encourage your children to
give these baskets to others as holiday gifts or birthday
presents.  Make a card to attach to the basket detailing your
children's Farmers' Market experience and why they picked the contents to go
into the gift basket.  The recipient will love their thoughtful gift and
your child will be proud of their creation.

– Prepare
new recipes.  Your children will discover that the farmers or chefs
present at the market can provide many delicious recipes for the family.  Cook together as a family and turn your children
into mini culinary masters of fresh food. 
From simple salads and soups to more complex side dishes and
pies your children will have a terrific time learning to cook with fresh
ingredients.  Help your children create great tasting meals that are good
for your family and our planet. 

For Farmers' Markets in your area please check:

UltimateMama wants you to have fun – Do it Together – Easy, Cute & Cheap Crafts for Kids!

UltimateMama knows that parents always look for
ways to entertain their children without breaking the bank.  Participating in an art project with your
child will not only provide essential bonding time but also offers creative
stimulation for the whole family. 
Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour you can teach your child about
colors, textures, shapes and sizes while creating a wonderful keepsake for all
to enjoy.

UltimateMama encourages you to take a look at the following simple craft ideas that enable families to have fun
together any time of year.

My First Bookmark

Who said bookmarks have to be rectangular?  Have your child decorate colored construction
paper with washable crayons or markers to create their first bookmark.  They could even add some cut-out objects
(stars, hearts, animals, etc.), stickers or glitter to make it extra
special.  Put clear contact paper over
the finished bookmark to preserve your masterpiece.

Lots of Leaves Placemat

Use real or faux leaves to create a rustic placemat for your
family dining table.  Glue leaves on
construction paper, then let it dry. 
Your child could individualize the placement by writing guests’ names on
it.  Finish by covering your leaves with
clear contact paper. 

Countdown to Holiday/Birthday/First Day of School/New
Sibling Chains

Choose two colors of construction paper and cut two inch by
four inch strips.  Create these “chains
of love” by either gluing, taping, or stapling chains in alternate colors to
link them together.  Hang your chain on a
wall, door, chair, or tree.  Your child
can break off one chain a day to countdown to the big event! Do it

Hand it to Me Tree

Create a tree with your child’s handprints for your door or
window.  Trace your child’s handprints on
a piece of construction paper or wrapping paper.  Cut out a bunch of handprints.  Tape the handprints to your door or window in
the shape of a tree.  Or you can even
glue the handprints on cardboard or poster board for a sturdy backing. 

Yummy Licorice Necklace or Bracelet

Making licorice necklaces or bracelets is a fun activity for
the slightly older child.  String the
licorice with pretzels, cereal, crackers or cookies.  Tie the finished product around your child’s neck
or wrist in a knot.  Your child can even
making you a matching one!

Diorama for All Ages

Use your old shoeboxes, tissue boxes or any other boxes to
create a base.  Then let your child’s
creative juices flow to create a whimsical scene using crayons, feathers,
colored construction paper, stickers, glitter, or other art supplies you have
at home.  Youngsters will have fun gluing
objects on while the older children will enjoy making a beautiful background.

Seashell Centerpiece

Your child can practice their counting skills while making
the perfect centerpiece for your table. 
Gather all of your seashells from recent vacations.  Then tell your child to put them into a large
vase one at a time.  Tie a fun ribbon
around the vase to finish it off.

Creepy Cardboard Monsters

Make good use out of your old toilet paper or paper towel
rolls.  Glue fabric or construction paper
to the cardboard roll.  Glue moving eyes
on for a special effect or create eyes with crayons or felt.  Press pipe cleaners through the rolls to
create hair.  Your child will love their
creepy monster!

Wreath for All Seasons

The perfect no-sew, easy to make wreath that looks like it
took hours to create.  Loop an elastic
hair band around a 10 or 12 inch straw ring (keeping the plastic on) for
hanging.  Next, use pinking shears to cut
3 inch squares of your favorite fabric. 
Take a screwdriver and place it in the middle of the fabric square and
poke it into the wreath.  Fill in the
entire wreath.  Decorate the wreath by
clipping on objects or pictures.  Hang it
up indoors or outdoors!

Personalized Photo Frames

Your child can make a fancy personalized frame for their
favorite pictures.  Have your child
decorate construction paper.  Use letter
stickers to create a name or message. 
Tape your child’s favorite photo to the center of the paper.

GREEN-ings from UltimateMama!
‘Tis the season to give green.  In these challenging economic times families
are searching for ways to buy holiday gifts in an economically and
environmentally conscious way.  Green
shopping trips during the holiday season will not only save your family money
but also teach your children about environmental conservation.  The holidays are a perfect time to remind
your children to reduce, reuse and recycle. 
Your children will learn valuable lessons about waste management as well
as complete their shopping in the process.

We have rounded up some useful, cost efficient tips for a
GREEN holiday season:

Reuse bags.  Before you leave the house remember to grab a
few of your own sturdy bags for the shopping trip.  Encourage your children to decorate their own
bags with markers.  Have your children
use old fabric swatches and create fun patterns on their bags with fabric
glue.  This fun and simple craft project
will start the shopping trip off on the right note.    

Give keepsakes.  Keep valuables in the family by giving your
favorite childhood books or precious jewelry to your children.  You can even teach an older sibling to
recycle a treasured toy by passing it down as a special holiday gift to a
younger sibling. 

Go vintage.  Show your children that they can find hidden
gems by shopping at thrift stores.  From
sterling silver belt buckles for dad to crystal vases for mom your child will
have fun perusing the shelves to complete their shopping list.   

Shop locally.  Support your local community by searching for
gifts at craft fairs, farmers’ markets, and flea markets.  From handmade candles to apple butter to
sweaters you can find many wonderful gifts for friends, family members,
teachers, and neighbors without even leaving your community.  Let your children get creative with gift
presentation by reusing your old baskets. 
Have your children put the gift items into individual baskets and tie
ribbons around them for a colorful spark.

GiftBasket-Farmers Mkt 6-09

Bu Buy organic cotton products.  Organic cotton can be found in clothing
items, towels, bed sheets, children’s stuffed animals, and bath robes.  Once your family goes organic they won’t go

Choose gifts made from recycled
materials.  It is so easy to find a wide
variety of gift ideas that are made from recycled materials including coasters, placemats,
trivets, jewelry, and bags. Bring new meaning to the old phrase “one man’s
trash is another man’s treasure” by engaging in craft projects with your
children to make gifts from your old supplies.  

Placemat 6-09

Bake.  Host a cookie decorating party or
cookie/recipe exchange around the holiday season to encourage edible
treats.  Older relatives love receiving
cakes and cookies made especially for them by the younger generation.  In the summer months encourage your children
to email family members requesting their favorite holiday treats.  Then help your child make these delectable treats
for holiday gifts and package them in a reused tin.   

Shop online.  Online shopping is convenient and
practical.  The benefits of reducing air
pollution by not driving to a store outweigh the fact that you cannot touch the

Give gift certificates or
memberships to your local zoo or aquarium.

Recycle and reuse wrapping paper,
bows, ribbons, gift bags, and boxes.  Set
aside a small area for packaging supplies and as your receive gifts throughout
the year add the packaging to this area.  
For a little packaging fun, use the comic section of the newspaper for
children’s gifts.