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Archive for May, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Determining If Cord Blood Banking is Right for Your Newborn Baby

  Written By: Guest Blogger

The following guest post is written by Ben. It is a slightly different viewpoint than my own, but provides some great information and facts to compare with my personal cord blood banking article. What do you think?

Determining If Cord Blood Banking is Right for Your Newborn Baby

Cord Blood BankingPregnancy is an exciting time for both mothers and fathers, but it is also a time when a large number of decisions must be made.  Some of these are trivial in nature; it makes little difference in the long run if the baby’s room is painted yellow or green.  However, one of the decisions could potentially be life changing for your child, and indeed your entire family at some time in the future.  This decision relates to umbilical cord blood banking.
Continue reading “Determining If Cord Blood Banking is Right for Your Newborn Baby” »

PostHeaderIcon Welcome to the Arctic!

  Written By: Melainie
toddler in arctic

Anneliese at 20 months.

I know it has been a while since I updated everybody on our move to the arctic, but we have been very busy settling into our new home. Although we are still in America, this is also tribal land and a whole different culture. Kotzebue is the supply city for the entire Northwest Arctic Borough and is an important culture center for the Inupiat people. Moving from the southeastern U.S. to an eskimo village in the arctic is a major culture shock! It has been a drastic change for our family, but we are soaking it all in.

When we touched down at the airport, all I saw was white snow and ice. It was a beautiful, picturesque landscape with the Kotzebue Sound frozen solid and snowy mountains in the distance. I was thrilled to see all of the snow. I had never seen so much snow my entire life.
Continue reading “Welcome to the Arctic!” »

PostHeaderIcon The Best Developmental Toys for Preschoolers

  Written By: Guest Blogger

Baby Monitor guest

If you’ve spent any time with preschool-age children and toddlers, you’ll quickly notice that they tend to have one thing in common: they love to play. The great thing about kids in the 2-5 age group is that, for them, play isn’t a frivolous activity – it’s how they learn. Think about it: if you were a preschooler, would you rather learn through being lectured, or learn through play? Here’s just a few of the best types of toys to encourage the development of crucial skills in preschoolers.

destructive baby

1. Sorting Toys
Toys that involve sorting are stacking are a great way for preschoolers to develop their sorting and prioritizing skills. These toys may take the form of colorful blocks and other toys that encourage kids to place things in a particular order.

2. Kinesthetic Toys
Kinesthetic toys are toys that get kids moving. Bikes, pedal cars, scooters, and toddler-safe trampolines are all great ways to help a preschooler’s physical development. By associating play and fun with exercise, children will develop good habits when it comes to their physical health. A kid that finds physical activity fun will be less likely to opt for TV and video games in the future.

3. Musical Toys
Research shows that children who are exposed to music from an early age do better in school and are more emotionally stable overall. Plus, music can become a fun interest and hobby for the child as they grow up. There are tons of musical toys out there, and even many “kid versions” of real instruments. All of these are great ways to expose a preschool-age child to music.

4. Alphabet Toys
It’s never too early to start teaching a child about letters and their sounds. Reading and writing are subjects that many kids struggle with during their early school years, and a lot of that can come from not understanding letters and their associated sounds. After all, letters are the building blocks of words and sentences. Many preschoolers will enjoy toys that allow them to push a letter button and hear the sound that it makes. This is a simple and effective introduction to letters and their sounds. Older preschoolers may be able to play with letter magnets or letter blocks.

5. Puzzle Toys
A puzzle doesn’t always mean a traditional 100-piece jigsaw puzzle, which is too tedious and complicated for a preschool-age child. There are many kid-friendly puzzle toys out there nowadays. A puzzle toy can be anything that encourages the child to match one shape to another. For instance, a simple preschool puzzle might have wooden animal shapes that the child then matches with the same shape on a wooden board. Puzzle toys are a great way for preschoolers to develop a consistent understanding of shapes.

6. Pretend Toys
Kids of both genders are often drawn to toys that allow them to make-believe – specifically, it’s common for children to want to participate in a type of pretend play that mimics adult activities. This can take the form of play houses, pretend kitchens, pretend food, and dress-up clothes. Toys that encourage pretend play are a great way for parents to teach children about manners and morals (i.e., if the preschooler just made a pretend meal, you can encourage them to “clean up” since it’s the responsible thing to do.)

Learning through play is a great way to set up a lifelong love of education. We often underestimate the learning capabilities of preschoolers, but through creative, fun, and educational play, you may be surprised at how much valuable knowledge a young child is able to retain.

Larissa Pray writes about education, finance & saving money at

PostHeaderIcon Cloth Diapering on a Budget

  Written By: Guest Blogger

The following guest post from Nisha Sharma is an informative post about low-cost cloth diapering. Nisha represents a website called, which is dedicated to offering you free stuff.

Baby Monitor guest

Cloth Diapers for Baby

Cloth DiapersCloth diapering has been around for quite some time. There are a large number of benefits associated with cloth diapering, which is the reason why so many women are choosing cloth diapers for their babies. One common myth regarding clothing diapers is that they are expensive to purchase. Can cloth diapers be costly? Yes. But do they have to be? No. There are cost effective options for cloth diapering babies on even the tightest of budgets.

Go Second Hand

Cloth diapers have a lengthy shelf-life and can last for many years. As a matter of fact, many families can cloth diaper all of their babies using the same exact batch of diapers if they care for them properly. There are many websites out there that offer opportunities for women to purchase pre-owned cloth diapers for only a fraction of the cost of brand new cloth diapers. Consider asking a friend or relative if you can purchase their cloth diapers once they are finished using them. No one can have too many cloth diaper inserts, so never pass up opportunities to purchase them separately if offered a chance.

Keep it Simple

Families can successfully cloth diaper their babies without all of the fancy new diaper upgrades that are being
peddled these days. Sure it would be nice to have the latest and greatest in cloth diapers gracing your child’s bum, but the truth is that they are unnecessary. If the standard cloth diaper inserts are not providing the baby with enough absorbency, simply add an extra insert into the diaper and the problem is solved. For centuries, women have cloth diapered babies with just the bare minimum, but modern cloth diapers offer all of the bells and whistles that are needed to do a quality job.

Use Wash Rags for Wipes

Wash rags, or really any type of soft cloth for that matter, can thoroughly clean and refresh a baby without the need of store-bought wipes. A great deal of money can be saved by avoiding any type of unnecessary diapering items such as wipes. Cloth wipes can simply be tossed into the wash and reused for a long period of time. Cloth wipes are also much gentler for cleaning the skin and don’t cause exposure to chemicals or fragrances. Sensitive bums will appreciate the cloth wipes.

Air Dry

With the rising cost of electricity, some parents may feel that using an electric dryer for cloth diapers can become expensive. To limit the use of electricity, hang a line in your yard and allow the cloth diapers to dry outside. Generations before us got by on so much less than what we have become accustomed to, and there is no reason why we can’t do things the way they did. If line drying leaves the diapers feeling stiff, toss them into the dryer just until the material relaxes.

Cloth diapers drying

High-Efficiency Detergent

Despite what the labels on the laundry detergent state, it is common knowledge that a little detergent goes a long way, so refrain from wasting detergent by limiting the amount tossed into the wash. High-Efficiency detergents can do the same job as your standard detergent and require a much less amount.

Say “NO” to Disposables

No diaperIt is not uncommon to find a hidden stash of disposable diapers in the closet of a cloth diapering mommy. Many families feel that they need to have a backup plan for diapering should they travel, leave the house, or any other well-meaning excuse for having disposables. Unfortunately, by having disposable diapers as a “Plan B,” families end up wasting money by investing even more additional cash into the diapering of their babies. Cloth diapers can work just as well as disposables when outside of the home. Consider using a “wet bag” to transport soiled items home.

PostHeaderIcon Relationships in Motherhood: Mom Connection (Book Giveaway)

  Written By: Melainie

mom friendsOne of the most difficult challenges that comes with motherhood is the loneliness and lack of companionship. Even though you are with somebody 24/7, you are actually alone,and it is not easy to make friends when you are taking care of that little person around the clock. I have really struggled with this area in my life and still find it difficult to make friends with other mothers. Now that I am in a completely new environment, it is time to learn how to create new “mom connections” and make friends.

I have been reading the book Mom Connection by Tracey Bianchi, which is about “creating vibrant relationships in the midst of motherhood,” to help me learn how to accomplish this. I love the MOPS organization and found their previously sponsored book to be very encouraging and uplifting. Now, I am learning an important life lesson through the workbook/inspirational book Mom Connection. A class on how to make friends and build relationships was not offered to me growing up, even though it is a very important part of life.

Some people are naturally outgoing and do not struggle with this nearly as much as we introverted people. Even with an outgoing personality, you may not know how to foster those connections you make, though. For those of you who feel like this is an area you need to develop more, the Mom Connection book is an amazing life tool. From creating your own life rhythm to sharing it with others, this book can teach anyone to grow their relationship personalities through it’s helpful tools and exercises.

This book is about living into life’s rhythm so we can connect and create vibrant relationships as moms. ~Tracey Bianchi

I have learned so much about myself and some of my personality flaws by seriously thinking through the questions Tracey poses at the end of each chapter. After understanding myself better, I have been able to improve my personality traits and this is helping me grow better relationships. This is extremely important because every mom needs to make connections if she wants to stay sane after having a baby.

mom friends

Even though I have struggled to make good mom friends, I have a supportive family that I knew I could always depend on whenever I needed help or advice. Now that I am on the opposite side of the continent, I need a new support group that I know I can depend on. I will always have my family to talk to, but I need some mom connections too.

If you would like a copy of Mom Connection, you can buy it on and enter to win it in my giveaway. This book is sponsored by the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) organization, which I absolutely love and encourage all moms to check them out. If you would like to know more about Tracey and this book, check out her website called

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