A Full Night’s Sleep for a New Parents: The Best No-Cost Gift!

After months of grogginess, we recently experienced a night with eight continuous hours of sleep.  It was life changing.  Suddenly we could complete our sentences and even remember where we left our keys.

giving gift of sleep to new parentsPeople who regularly doze for sizeable chunks have no idea what an uninterrupted snooze can do for a sleep-deprived family in those first few months.  It revitalizes body and soul, regenerates our sadly withered coping skills, and helps us see the world, and our baby, in a whole new light.  (Think precious bundle instead of ten-pound heartless, sleep-depriving dictator.)

If someone would have offered to take my child for a night so that I climb between the sheets at 8am and get long hour stretch of unconsciousness, I think I would have cried with sheer happiness.
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The Friday question: Are you traveling for the holidays this year?

avoiding holiday travelWhile we love seeing family from far away, traveling takes a toll on our children, the environment, and our budgets.  Surprisingly, driving has far less of a carbon impact than flying—and is usually cheaper as well.  Are you traveling by car or plane to see family this season?  Are you going to brave the journey with your little ones in tow?  If you are planning on staying home this year, is it a relief or a disappointment?

Holiday Gift Ideas for Baby or Expectant Mother: Ergo Baby Carrier

Lately it seems like every other mom totes her tot around town in an Ergo Baby Carrier. Seeing all these other mamas with their Ergos made me wonder, what’s the big deal? My curiosity was also piqued by several comments on our baby carrier post. Ergo owners enthusiastically declared their loyalty to this comfy contraption.

But we loved our Kangaroo Korner pouch sling and even came to enjoy our preowned Baby Bjorn carrier after some technical difficulties. Why on earth would we buy another carrier?

ergo carrier is a great baby gift ideaWe didn’t, but we probably would have if we would have known with our first.  A friend urged us to borrow hers, but we were still hesitant.  It seemed difficult to strap on and like just another carrier to pack into our tiny house.  But when we used it, we were surprised by how much better it worked for our bodies.  When Jovi has been snoozing in it for over an hour, we aren’t struggling with aching shoulders or necks.  Plus, she can ride in the front or the back when she gets older.  Since her weight is centralized and the device has padded straps, we found it to be much more “ergonomically correct” –which may just be how this carrier got its name.
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The Friday Question: What are you (and baby) eating for Thanksgiving?

Tofurky as thanksgiving treatSome of you are opting for a free-range bird while others are looking forward to enjoying a slice of Tofurky.  Maybe you’re skipping any semblance of a turkey and are going for grass fed roast beef or veggie stir fry. And will your baby be dining on breast milk or pureed pumpkin?  (Or both?)

The Friday Question: Are you cutting back on your holiday budget?

simple homemade holiday giftsFor many people who are limiting holiday budgets there may be unexpected benefits.  Maybe we’re more focused on the meaning of the holidays than the commercialism—which is good for the planet and our pocketbooks.  Are you re-prioritizing for the holidays this year?  Are you making more homemade gifts or perhaps embracing a simpler Thanksgiving feast this year?  How has the recession affected your festivities?

Seven Simple, Inexpensive Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

homemade thanksgiving centerpieces use natural itemsWhen the last piece of Halloween candy has been devoured and the sugar high is over, it’s time to look forward to the cozy festivities of Thanksgiving.  If you happen to be preparing the feast this year in addition to being pregnant or the mother of a little one, you may feel oppressive exhaustion just thinking of a centerpiece.

Fear not!  There are several gorgeous things to choose from which are probably laying in your front yard or in the park up the street.  On a brisk autumn walk you and your child can easily gather lovely items to display on Thanksgiving without breaking a sweat.
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Deals on Organic Foods for the Holidays

tasty baby saleAs our holiday grocery lists grow longer and the expenses mount, it’s tough to stick with our organic ideals.  Luckily, there’s a resource that can help us save while buying organic.  My sister, a mother of five and professional bargain hunter, just introduced me to Organic Deals, “Helping moms go organic without going broke.”

For example, the site is currently featuring a post on Tasty Baby organic baby food for fifty percent off! You have until the end of November to stock up on pureed pumpkin for your babe’s Thanksgiving feast.

Scan her blog entries for the latest online deals and also check her organic coupon index for great deals on the things you need for your Thanksgiving feast.  Enjoy the sweet taste of organic foods at a much sweeter price!

Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Recipes

We’ve collected and adapted a few of our favorite pumpkin recipes so that you can savor the taste of autumn while sneaking a vegetable into your child’s diet.  If you double the cookie recipe, stir up the scones, and whip up a batch of pancakes, you’ll use up a large sized can of pumpkin with not a bit to spare.

Hearty Pumpkin Cookies

These nutritious cookies are made with oats and wheat flour. I found the original recipe at Cooks.com and then tweaked a bit to make it healthier.  In just a few days I shall take steaming plates of these to my son’s preschool Halloween party!pumpkin oatmeal kid friendly cookies
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Choosing a Small Home for Economic and Environmental Reasons

Do green homes always come with solar panels? In fact, the six thousand square foot eco-homes of the rich and famous aren’t as earth-friendly as cozy abodes with smaller footprints.

smaller, greener homeWe didn’t just buy our thousand square foot home with a small apartment attached in the back for environmental reasons.  In truth, it was the only thing we could afford and we loved the location.

By the way, the incredibly cool picture in this post is not our home.  Ours is a grey, low-ceiling three bedroom unit that’s just about as simple as it could possibly be.  Still, regardless of its design, I now often ponder just how green it is to live in a smaller home—and the benefits go beyond the environment.
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Green Family Living in a Smaller Home

If we lived in New York City, our space would seem immense, but here in Oregon, a thousand square foot home is considered tiny for a family of four.  Walk-in closets, mudrooms, generous pantries and guest quarters are standard on most newer homes which average around double the size of ours.

greener living in smaller houseTo be totally honest, I have to admit that I’m not opposed to larger homes. Sometimes just the idea of a bigger kitchen causes my chest to ache with longing.

Still, the benefits of our modest home are becoming clearer to me every year.

  • Higher Population Density: If we count the tenant who lives in an attached apartment in back, we have five people living in 1300 square feet. That drastically shrinks our overall carbon footprint.
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