Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Third, and Final, Birth Prep Class at LIJ

We finished up our Birth Preparation Course at Long Island Jewish with a third and final class on 12/16. In this last class we practiced breathing techniques and watched our 1990s-era birth video, as per usual, but we also ended class by spending a good amount of time talking about baby care... which was great!

I was really glad to have the opportunity to ask nurse Brenda about certain things such as care after circumcision (lots of vaseline), what baby should wear home from the hospital (she recommended a two-piece outfit so that baby's belly button remains uncovered), etc. And, as always, she assured us that we WILL be able to get through labor once the time comes. Oh how I hope she's on-call the day I go in!

All in all, I do believe the birth classes at LIJ are worth the $190 fee. While we didn't make it to the free breastfeeding class yet, we learned a lot in the prep classes that will be specific to our birth experience at LIJ and therefore is not included in any baby books. Also, perhaps most important, my husband was able to learn about labor, delivery and childcare--God knows he will never make it through this own baby care books, regardless of his super sweet intentions!

Now, we wait until our baby boy arrives! I'll be sure to post about our birth experience at LIJ as soon as possible.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Product Review: Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum

I hope you've all been having a lovely holiday season! Since I last posted--and since my fiasco with the Shark Multivac--I've had a lot of time to test out the Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum. And I must say, I am in love!

Shark™ Navigator Upright Vacuum - Purple

The most important thing about this hunk of purple love is its simplicity. It is your standard lightweight upright vacuum--you push and pull it along your floors, no rocket science degree required--with some pretty awesome extras:
  1. A super long hose and crevice tool that allows for vacuuming your curtains, behind your toilet bowl, in ceiling corners, in the floor track of your sliding doors, inside your over-stuffed closets, etc. My big pregnant butt doesn't need to do any bending and yet I've been able to clean my apartment in places it has never been cleaned before with this vacuum.
  2. Super suction power and the option to turn the brush roll on and off means both my tile floors and carpet get super clean with one vacuum. The multivac didn't have a brush at all... which was super sucky in another way.
  3. A pet hair power-cleaning brush which is great at removing our bunny's hair from the furniture.
  4. A bagless dust cup which is really easy to empty (just hit a button and out pops the cup) as opposed to the multivac's cup (struggle to pull the entire hand vac off the base, hit yourself in the head, stagger to the garbage pail...), and re-washable lifetime filters.
  5. Smart switch positioning which doesn't require you to bend down to turn the vacuum or the brush roll on or off. (The multivac's mid-vac switch position was just horrible.)
  6. Great maneuverability in that it doesn't have one of those fancy swivel heads that seem like a great idea at first but actually tend to let the vacuum get away from you.
We purchased the Navigator at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $199 with a 20% off coupon. It is definitely more expensive than the multivac--which we bought for $99 but is now discounted to $79.99 I presume because of its inherent suckiness--but the Navigator is entirely worth the extra money. I actually really enjoy vacuuming now (and no, hell has not frozen over!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dorel Car Seat Recall

Geeze, it seems like I'm posting a product recall every other day!

This latest recall includes several models of Dorel car seats sold under the Safety 1st, Disney, Cosco, and Eddie Bauer labels Jan 08 through April 09. When used as a carrier, the handle may fall off posing a risk of dropping your baby.

Check out the CPSC website HERE for the full recall notice and info about how to receive your repair kit. Note: you can still use the carrier as a car seat when it is properly installed in your car. Just don't attempt to carry baby in it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blinds Recall

This is one major recall! Today, the CPSC announced a recall of millions of roman shades and roll up blinds whose cords pose a strangulation risk. Check out the CPSC's recall notice HERE.

You may also want to check out for how to safely outfit your home windows and how to obtain free retrofit kits for various roman style shades.

Or better yet, you may want to do away with this style of shade all together. Better safe than sorry, mamas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The lovely ladies over at The Bump message boards clued me in to a fun surprise mommy makeover being done by The Knot this Thursday, December 17th . You've got to submit your info today, so here are the details so you can get cracking!

Do you know a NEW NYC Metro area MOM that really deserves a MAKEOVER? Has she devoted her entire life to her new baby and in the process let herself go? If you know a new mom who needs a new look to boost her confidence, nominate her for this SURPRISE opportunity to be pampered and celebrated!

We will be selecting one amazing mom for a makeover ASAP! In order to qualify, this mom must:

1. Live in the New York Metro area (within 1.5 hours of NYC)

2. Be a new deserving mom with a compelling pregnancy or life story with a look that needs updating

3. Be nominated by a friend or family member willing to talk on camera about why she deserves a makeover, and willing to work with producers to SURPRISE this mom with the opportunity

4. Be able to secure this Thurs the 17th and Friday the 18th off (w/childcare coverage) to participate in the makeover process

*Please submit a current photos of the mom that best expresses WHY she deserves a makeover*

**Entries will not be considered unless the above qualifications are met**

Interested? Please answer the following questions and mail (along with photos of the mom) to

• Your name, age, and contact phone number

• The mom’s name, age, # of kid(s), age of kid(s), the city & state she lives in

• Is she single or married? Does she have a full or part-time job she will be returning to?

• Write a brief synopsis telling us why this mom is deserving. (Be it her struggle to become a mom, life hardships, or medical/financial issues…etc.)

• Describe the mom’s physical appearance and how it’s changes post baby

• A guestimate of the mom’s current height, weight, and clothing size

Please mail your answers and a photo of both yourself and the mom you want to makeover to ASAP. We need to hear from you today!

Good luck, mamas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Second Birth Prep Class at LIJ

We finally got around to going to our second of three birth preparation classes at Long Island Jewish hospital last Wednesday! We had started our class series way back in October, but had to postpone when my husband caught a bad cold (we definitely didn't want to pass any germs along to our fellow classmates.)

We started out the evening by meeting nurse Brenda in the maternity ward at 7pm for a quick tour. She showed us a birthing room, which we thought was nice--private, with a cd player and tv and a bathroom without a shower--but a bit small. She then pointed out the recovery rooms, which seemed bigger and are either private (for $565 per night) or 4-bed (free).

We also swung by the well baby nursery where several adorable babies--including a 9.5-pounder!--were sleeping peacefully. Brenda told us that at LIJ all well babies are taken to the nursery an hour or so after birth for 3 hours of monitoring while mom is transported to recovery across the hall. After their time in the nursery, babies can stay with their moms unless she wants him/her to be returned to the nursery.

After the tour, my husband and I headed to our 7:30pm class where we spent 3o minutes on the floor practicing breathing techniques. This had us laughing but was very helpful none-the-less! I suggest bringing a lot of pillows, however, to keep you and your husband comfortable (sitting on the ground is not fun for my non-flexible bloke.)

After a quick food/bathroom break, we then watched a birth video that explained all of the many possible birth interventions--epidurals, inducement, cesarean sections, etc.

We ended the class with a Q&A session where Brenda really calmed my fears about getting an epidural if I felt I needed one. From Brenda's answers, however, I did have the sneaking suspicion that LIJ is a hospital that prefers its delivering moms to take pain medication. I'm starting to believe that if you want to go natural, your best bet is to find a midwife or a doula to be your advocate on the big day!

In our next class session we'll be going over baby care basics. I'm really looking forward to it and to entering the home stretch of pregnancy. Just under a month to go!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Product Recall: Amby Baby Motion Beds

Picture of Recalled Baby Motion Bed
The CPSC has issued a recall of Amby Baby Motion Beds/Hammocks due to an infant suffocation risk. This is scary because I almost registered for one of these, but didn't because my husband was nervous about safety! The full recall notice is HERE.

Owners should stop using the bed and contact Amby at for a free repair kit--what that kit will be, who knows. The repair kits won't be available until January 2010, though, so it looks like owners will need to find a new sleeping arrangement for their little ones in the meanwhile.

Product Review: Udder Covers

Last Monday I posted a promo code which allowed the purchase of an Udder Cover nursing cover for just the cost of shipping and handling ($8.95). My cover arrived exactly a week later and I am happy to provide you with the product review I promised:

The cover I received is actually not terrible given the speculation that the entire Udder Cover enterprise was a scam. The fabric is cute and I love the stiff collar that allows mom to maintain eye-contact with their baby while feeding without feeling exposed. Of course, if someone is standing right over you, staring down your shirt, they'll see baby on your breast, which is true with all nursing covers that allow eye-contact.

The fabric is thin, but not see-through and, while pretty substantial in size, it can be folded up really tiny to fit into your diaper bag. The sewing is a little shoddy, though, which bothers me. (Couldn't the Udder Cover folks stop their frantic sewing just for an instance to fix a simple stitch?) That said, I'm pretty sure that the cover will hold up... unless I'm doing some wild, acrobatic breastfeeding!

So, is the Udder Cover worth the $8.95 ? For me, I think so. I definitely could have sewn a similar cover myself for less money, but I'm SO not in the mood these days to head out to the craft store for all the fabric and hardware. Also, all of the comparable nursing covers I have seen begin at $20 and up, so I'm pretty happy to have paid half price, shoddy sewing and all.

I guess my biggest problem is, however, that Udder Covers offers these "special" codes in perpetuity. (I just received another code in an email today.) I'm certain the "pay S&H only" deal is a great marketing ploy they read about in a book and is indeed bringing them a lot of business--I mean, we all jump on buying something that is "free"--but I think the company would garner more goodwill if they would just sell the darn thing for $6 with $2.95 S&H.

As it stands, we all jump on the deal, realize after the fact that it isn't really special at all, and start suspecting that something fishy is up with the company. Udder Covers, we'd respect you and your product more if you'd just give it to us straight!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Product Review: The Shark Multi-Vac

Euro-Pro Shark NH15 Multi-Vac
I really wanted to like the Shark Multi-Vac, but, God help me, I'm about to throw it out the window! At first I thought having a vacuum with multiple uses (hand vac, upright vac, and canister vac) would be great, but changing from one configuration to another takes a degree in rocket science and a lot of energy. I'm generally a very tech-y girl, but I really don't want to be deconstructing and reconstructing a robot when all I want to do is vacuum the kitchen floor!!

Deep breath.

For ease of reading, I'll list the pros and cons (of which there are many):

  • Low Price: With one of those 20% coupons Bed, Bath and Beyond sends in the mail what seems like every day, I was able to buy the Shark Multi-Vac for about $80 at the BB&B on Queens Blvd.
  • Small Size: Petite for a small home/apartment
  • Powerful Suction: The suction was so strong it actually got hard to push on some of my carpets. (Wait, does that make the suction a con in this instance?)
  • Back Saver Attachment: This attachment, used in canister mode, allows you to get under furniture without moving heavy pieces or straining your back. However, I couldn't even figure out how to convert the vacuum to canister mode and I strained my back with frustration anyway!
  • Purple Vacuum: Need I say more?
  • Crazy Swivel Steering: I would have thought swivel steering would be a pro, but it is actually really hard to steer the vacuum where you want it. I had a hard time pushing the vacuum straight ahead and actually needed to lift it and replace it down on the floor a couple of times.
  • Complicated Design: As I said above, it is difficult to transition from one vacuum format to another and putting the vacuum together out of the box was like building a spaceship (I exaggerate a little, of course). You also need to remove the entire hand vacuum from the stick to empty the dust cup, which is supremely annoying.
  • Inconvenient Power Switch Location: Unless you have some serious monkey toes, you'll need to bend down to the bottom of the vac to reach the power switch, which out of multi-use necessity must be on the hand vac canister. This pregnant lady did not appreciate that.
  • No Beater Brush: The upright vac does not have a beater brush, which means the vac won't kick up things and I had trouble picking up even a feather from our extremely low-pile carpeting. (I did have more success with the upright vac in our tiled kitchen.)
  • Heavy: Despite being advertised as "light-weight," this Shark is actually a bit of a chore to push around. Perhaps this is an unfortunate side effect, however, of the difficult steering and super suction.
  • Short Hose: Forget about cleaning your curtains when the vac is in upright mode. The most you're stretching this hose is two feet and it doesn't come with a long-reaching nozzle attachment.
The bottom line is that I must return this vacuum before it drives me crazy. I was blinded by how cool and gadgety the Shark Multi-Vac Looks, but I've learned a lesson that simple and dependable is generally the way to go with household appliances.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dr. Jack Kanarek in Forest Hills

I had my 35-week appointment with Dr. Jack Kanarek yesterday (so that I will be acquainted with him if my usual OB, Dr. Charnes, is unable to make my delivery) and I must say that he is superb! His bedside manner is warm and he didn't get angry with me at all for having gained 40 pounds at this point. (He actually said I was right on track.) It also doesn't hurt that he has great Anderson Cooper-esque silver hair!

I really wouldn't mind if Dr. Kanarek ends up in the delivery room with us next month. In fact, if it wasn't so late in the game, I might have switched to Dr. Kanarek as my primary OB--he really struck me as much warmer than his colleague. I do like Dr. Charnes, though, even if she is a bit prickly, and I tend to prefer a female OB/GYN, so I'm just going to count myself lucky that I have two doctors that I like on my side. It was tough going for a while there with my first OB in Manhattan!

Dr. Charnes and Dr. Kanarek can be reached at:

6905 Yellowstone Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 544-8400

Oh, and if you go for an appointment at this office, you can check out some truly swanky homes a block or two north on 108th and 110th Streets around 69th Ave. I didn't know they made them like that in Queens!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More about Udder Covers

So, after that promo code for Udder Covers went around yesterday (I received news of a code in an email from Planning Family), folks got to talking on The Bump about a possible Udder Covers scam. View the conversation HERE.

If you Google "Udder Covers scam" you'll see that lots of folks have been happy with their product, but others claim that their credit card numbers have been stolen from the Udder Covers website. I can't attest to the truth of any of this yet, but I'll be sure to keep you updated regarding the quality of the product once I receive it and any credit card tomfoolery. Just to be safe though, mamas, I would order this product using PayPal or a credit card with good fraud protection services (not your ATM card). We must always be careful when internet shopping... even when it is a great deal!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Udder Covers Nursing Cover Discount Code

Udder Covers is once again offering their $32 nursing covers for just $8.95 (the cost of shipping and handling.) Just pop on over to, select the design that you like (I picked the very elegant Jones design shown above), enter the code PLANNING in the promo code box at checkout and, voila, almost free nursing cover. The code is also good for $32 off their gift sets.

Udder Cover discount codes tend to fly around The Bump message boards a lot and the reigning opinion is that they are worth the $8.95. I guess it makes sense since comparable covers range from $20 to $40 at Babies R Us. I also like that Udder Covers are 100% cotton and have a rigid top so that you can maintain eye contact with your breastfeeding baby.

I don't have a nursing cover yet, so I'm thinking that I can't go wrong with this deal. I'll be sure to update you as soon as it arrives!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Storkcraft Crib Recall

Yesterday Storkccaft, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commision, issued a recall of more the 2.1 million drop-side cribs with plastic trigger and one-hand-system drop-side hardware, some which were produced under the Fisher Price logo. It seems like we have been hearing for years now about the dangers of these cribs (entrapment or suffocation caused by worn out, loose and otherwise faulty drop-sides) so I'm glad to hear that Storkcraft is doing something about it.

The official CPSC recall statement with details on affected cribs is available HERE.

So, what do you do if your crib is one that was included in the recall? Its actually pretty easy: contact Storkcraft for a repair kit at 877-274-0277 or You do not need a receipt, just the model number from your crib.

Of course, there is high traffic on the Storkcraft website and phone line, so in the meanwhile make sure that all of the hardware on your crib is working properly and that pieces are not loose, improperly installed, or missing. You may even just want to play it safe in the future by looking into getting a stationary-sided crib. My thoughts: why play with fire?

Product Review: Medela Softcup Nursing Bra

Medela Seamless Softcup Nursing Bra - Basic Colors
I picked up a Medela Seamless Softcup Nursing Bra in-store at Babies R Us this past weekend because the wires in my bras are starting to dig painfully into my stomach and I must say that I never imagined a wireless bra could be so supportive--and I'm currently a 38 DD! The bra is comfy, cute, looks great under clothing, and I imagine the single handed cup release will make it a joy to wear while nursing.

The two negatives I do see with this bra are the price (around $40 in most stores) and the fact that the bra is unlined. I'm pretty modest about wearing unlined bras, so I will be wearing this bra only under heavier fabrics and in my own home.

For out of house/thinner clothing wear, I will be buying a lined, Leading Lady Nursing Bra from JC Penney. They come highly recommended from a friend of mine--who looks amazing in them--and they're currently on sale from $18. (Visit JC Penney at the Queens Center in Elmhurst or order online.) I'll post more about Leading Lady when I get mine in.

FYI: The Medela Softcup bra runs pretty true to size, so I would recommend purchasing a cup size larger than your current size for wear after your milk comes in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dr. Stacey Charnes on Epidurals

I had my 33-week appointment with Dr. Charnes last night and she said something to me that I felt I must pass along to Queens mamas who might be considering her as their OB:

I told Dr. Charnes that I wanted to try to go as far as possible without an epidural and she peered at me skeptically and said "I don't recommend that." I explained to her that, of course I would be leaving my options open as most deliveries do not go as planned, but with my history of low blood pressure and low heart rate, I am concerned about the drugs' effect on my body. (I rarely even take over the counter medication--that's how careful with drugs I am.) Her response: there are drugs that can raise your blood pressure back up, so that is not a good reason to go without the epidural.

Well, its not going to be Dr. Charnes' decision once I'm in labor and I will be pretty vocal about that so I'm not too worried. However, if you want a doctor who is going to be completely on-board with an all-natural birth process, you might want to skip Dr. Charnes. As I've mentioned before, she's a good, thorough doctor, but she is not going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Product Review: Palmers Tummy Butter and Skin Therapy Oil

I was about 40 lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight when I was younger, so I am quite well-acquainted with stretchmarks. My plan during this pregnancy, therefore, has been to not freak out over new stretch marks, but to try and prevent them none-the-less without spending a fortune!

I started out with Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil, which I was able to buy in-store at BuyBuy BABY in Manhattan (7th Ave and 25th St) for around $6 in September--cheaper than most places that I've seen it. I applied the oil once a day to my stomach, hips, and chest and it lasted about two months.

Palmer's oil was nice--it kept my skin moisturized, smelled good, and wasn't too greasy--but I didn't see much of a difference at all in the appearance of my old stretchmarks. I've actually noticed some faint new ones creeping up, which I didn't want but expected since I'm apparently predisposed to them.

One strange thing that the oil did for me was turn the hair on my stomach blonde! The "non-staining" formula also stained a silk dress of mine, but that was really my fault as I didn't wait for the oil to dry.

Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil is not available online at BuyBuy BABY at the moment, though, so if you want to give it a try and can't make it to the store in Manhattan, I'd recommend checking your local pharmacy or Destination Maternity (the average price is $9). I'd actually really recommend, though, that you try something similar to the next product...

I bought Palmer's Tummy Butter at the beginning of my pregnancy but was turned off in the beginning because I couldn't figure out how to get the seemingly hard product onto my body! When I ran out of my Skin Therapy Oil, I figured I'd give the Tummy Butter a go again as I had spent $9 on it (which seems to be the average).

The key to getting this stuff onto you is to actually scoop out a chunk with your finger and then rub it into a nice warm oil in your hands before slathering it on. Its a messy process for your hands, but it keeps my skin really moisturized throughout the day. I just wipe my hands on a wet towel when I'm done and am really careful getting dressed and that seems to do the trick. I haven't had any clothes staining incidents yet.

The stuff works for me too! I've noticed that in just a week of using the Tummy Butter, some of the faint new marks that were showing up when I was using the Skin Therapy Oil are actually getting fainter. Hooray! The tub seems like it is going to last only a month or two though, so, your best bet might be this 3 for $20 deal HERE. I plan to buy some for post partum. (Perk: my husband thinks its smells yummy!)

Now, perhaps just a simple tub of regular cocoa butter would do the trick. Its much cheaper, but the Tummy Butter actually has some extra ingredients like Mineral Oil, Collagen, and Elastin (oh my!) The bottom line is that stretch mark remedies seem to work differently for everybody, so despite my review, each of us must really go through the trial and error process on our own. I like the Tummy Butter, but maybe you won't. But, come on, its well worth the try!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Daycare Review: Christ the King Community Daycare Center in Middle Village, NY

Sigh. Every time I look into the cost of daycare centers, I get the nagging feeling that we'd be better off if I remained at home. This doesn't mean, of course, that I'll stop looking--whether I find a marvelous, well-priced daycare or ammunition for the stay at home mom cause, I'm benefiting, right? But the search does get painful.

Today I called Christ the King Community Daycare Center at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, NY. I've heard good things about this center, which is on the grounds of Christ the King High School. Plus they have a website and, I don't know about you, but I trust something more when they care enough to put in on the web (that's where we all get our info now, right?).

While Christ the King's website it pretty sad content-wise, at least you can see that the school as a whole is a professional operation. Click on the tab that says "Daycare" in the left-hand menu and you'll be able to see the daycare's monthly newsletter as well as their calendar and some basic info.

Now, I've also heard that the monthly costs at Christ the King can be pretty high and that there is a huge wait list. The cost issue was confirmed when I called up the center: it would be $850/month to put my infant son in daycare for 8 hours a day, 3 days a week. While I was told they work on a monthly contract basis and don't have a per hour cost breakdown to give out, I did the math and calculated that a full week of infant daycare (40 hours) would equal $1350/month. While less expensive than a good nanny (think Mary Poppins-like), who can ask upward of $20/hr ($3200/month), this is very comparable to many Manhattan and other metro-area daycare centers who I've found can run around $1600-$2000/month.

The wait list at Christ the King wasn't a big issue, however, at least for infants. I was told to call back, four or five months in advance, as infants move very quickly from their first infant room (for infants who aren't crawling) to their second (for infants who do more than sleep and poop.) I'm sure you'd want to call even earlier for toddlers, however.

So, what is my final verdict? I'm actually not certain. I plan to swing by the center sometime in December to give it a look-see and determine if its safe, wonderful and, ultimately, worth the cost. I'll be certain to report my findings here and in the meanwhile, I'll keep searching. Oh the lengths we mamas will go for our little ones. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NYC Sample Sale: Mylo Dweck Maternity

I know, why don't we have any awesome sample sales in Queens?! It looks like this one will be worth a trip to the city, though. Check it out!


Mylo Dweck Maternity Sample Sale
November 10-11
T 8-7 W 8-6
720 Fifth Avenue
(Entrance on 56 Street) 10 Floor

Attention all pregnant girls. Mylo Dweck Maternity, the trendy maternity hot spot, is having their 2 day Fall & Winter clearance and sample sale with prices up to 70% off. Designers featured here include Michael Stars, Velvet, Seven & Paige Jeans, Olian, Maternal America and so many more. Find great sweaters for $40, coats from $70, dresses for $50 and more! You’ll want to get there early. This sale is always a sell out.

American Express, Mastercard, Visa and cash accepted.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Product Recall: ALL Maclaren Strollers

From the Baby Bargains website:

Breaking news: Maclaren plans to recall 1 million strollers---all its production between 1999 and 2009---after receiving 12 reports of hinges on the stroller that amputated children's fingertips. The company will send out a cover for the hinges to all owners.

The CPSC and Maclaren will issue a press release in the recall this Tuesday; Maclaren began notifying its dealers of the recall in the past couple of days.

Here is the take-home message until the recall is official:

• Stop using all Maclaren strollers right now---yes, every model made since 1999.

• When the recall goes public on Tuesday, order a hinge cover from Maclaren's web site or phone line. (Note: the web site is not live yet as of this writing).

• Wait until you install the hinge cover before using the stroller again.

We will blogging updates on this recall as they develop this week. Click here to read updates:

Stay tuned,
Denise & Alan Fields

Website Review: Kids.Woot

Wow, sorry for the hiatus in posting! I got hit with a nasty cold that knocked me on my (huge) pregnant ass until now. While I was resting, however, I heard of another great bargain site for kids that I must pass your way!

Kids.Woot is very similar to another favorite site of mine, Every day at 12am, a new discounted children's product goes on sale until it sells out. Today they're offering a Lamaze baby gym for only $29.99 + $5 shipping. So, go ahead, add this website to your daily site-stalking list!

By the way, there are other Woot discount sites that might be up your alley:
  • The original Woot offers daily electronics deals
  • Wine.Woot offers wine deals
  • Shirt.Woot offers--you guessed it--shirt deals
Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Product Review: Motherhood Tummy Sleeve revisited

The Tummy Sleeve By Motherhood
I stopped wearing my Motherhood Maternity tummy sleeves weeks ago when I could no longer squeeze into non-maternity bottoms and graduated to full-panel maternity pants. But I have now rediscovered how lifesaving they can still be as the heavier fabrics of fall have my maternity pants constantly slipping down my body. (Seriously, how do some people walk around with the crotch of their pants between their knees? SO uncomfortable!)

These days, I'm wearing the full-panel Secret Fit Belly boot-cut maternity jeans ($25) with the panel pulled up all the way to my ribs and also have the tummy sleeve folded in half around my hips, just below my belly button. My two sleeves are definitely raggedy from too much washing in unforgiving laundromat machines (I recommend hand-washing them), but no one sees them and they save me from the saggy-ass syndrome and let me get away with not having to buy more expensive maternity jeans. I'm sure that the designer jeans stay up a bit better, but this mama is not paying $300 for pants I can't wear after baby is born.

Just a quick, hopefully money-saving, tip!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recipe Review: Quick & Delicious Pork Chops w/ Apples & Onions from Rachael Ray

I must admit, I am a horrible cook. I over-salt my salads, am always substituting ingredients that I don't have to the food's detriment, and my pork chops are always either too raw or too tough to chew. Last night, however, I tried a great Rachael Ray recipe off of and succeeded in making the juicy, flavorful pork chops of my--and my husband's--dreams!

HERE is the link.

Rachael's secret to cooking a quick, juicy pork chop is to cook the chops on medium high heat for 6 minutes on one-side, flip, and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes with a loose tent of tin foil covering the chops. The tented foil keeps the pork chops juicy and the accompanying cider gravy and sauteed apples and onions make the dish heavenly.

Kids will especially like the apples and onions which my husband described as "dessert for dinner." Yum.

True to my nature, of course, I didn't have any apple cider for the gravy, so I substituted a tiny bit of lemon juice and the dish still came out great. I also went with Betty Crocker mashed sweet potatoes in a box which were delicious and didn't require any strenuous mashing on the part of this tired mama.

Oh, and I still over-salted the salad. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Product Review: Element Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga DVD

Element: Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga
At my last appointment, my OB told me I was gaining a bit too much weight (35 lbs in 7 mo!), so I decided to try my hand at prenatal yoga. I really never liked yoga--I was really into Pilates before getting pregnant--but with the intense, lying-flat-on-yourback ab exercises of Pilates a no-no these days, I thought I'd give it another shot.

I picked up Element's Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga DVD for $9.99 at Best Buy and its actually not that bad at all. The prenatal program is challenging and a tad long if, like me, you haven't worked out for awhile, but I just paused the DVD when I felt winded and still got a good workout. And while the voice over seemed a bit silly to me sometimes ("breathe in and send your love and hopes to your baby"), the breathing exercises that precede and follow the workout are super relaxing. Who doesn't need to relax these days?

There are, however, a few exercises that I skipped being further along in my pregnancy and not having done any ab-strengthening exercises over the last few months. While doing Pilates, the on-hands-and-toes plank position was a favorite of mine, but at 7 months pregnant, I felt like the pressure of the baby was going to tear my stomach muscles. Likewise for the reverse plank except that the pressure of the baby was put on my back and vena cava.

Bottom line: While not perfect, this is a pretty good prenatal DVD for the price. And, it has the added benefit of including a postnatal routine too--although I will probably go back to my beloved Pilates! In any case, my next OB appointment is next week so only time will tell if yoga is helping me curb the weight gain. I'll keep you posted!

*P.S. I am not a doctor and cannot recommend this DVD medically. Also, no one should attempt a new exercise program without contacting her/his doctor first. Don't hurt yourself!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NYC Sample Sale: Bonpoint Couture Children's Clothing

For those of you looking for some discounted designer duds for your wee ones (from newborn to preteen), French children's couture house, Bonpoint, will be having a sample sale next Wednesday and Thursday starting at 8am.

Bonpoint has some pretty beautiful stuff--Suri Cruise and the Obamas are fans--and it looks like the discounts will be substantial. The skinny:

Bonpoint Fall/Winter Sample Sale
October 28-29
W 8-7 Th 8-3
The Metropolitan Pavilion
123 West 18 Street
(6-7 Avenues) 5 Floor
New York, NY

They will be accepting AMEX, Visa, and MasterCards. Go forth and shop!

Pediatrician Search: Dr. Tatyana Ledovsky in Ridgewood

I found another candidate for our pediatrician! (That was quick, huh?) Dr. Tatyana Ledovsky is located in Ridgewood, has 20+ years of experience, and is Board Certified. She is also in the office Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with a covering doctor on Thursday--sweet!

Her info:

Dr. Tatyana Ledovsky
64 15 Fresh Pond Rd
Ridgewood, NY 11385
(718) 381-9500

We'll be going in for an interview with Dr. Ledovsky in the next week or two, so I will be sure to post an update afterwards. Some key things to ask a pediatrician include:
  1. Who can I call in the event of an after-hours emergency?
  2. If my child is sick, can we come into the office that same day?
  3. Is the pediatrician available by phone for non-urgent questions?
  4. Does the office have separate sick patient and a well patient rooms?
  5. What are the pediatrician's vaccination policies/beliefs? Do they jive with your own?
The Bump actually has a great list of questions to ask HERE.

More on the doctor search soon!

The Pediatrician Search Begins and Dr. Joel E. Hershey is no longer in Queens
According to my Bump pregnancy checklist, its time to start the search for a pediatrician. A great place to start is asking friends for recommendations or you can hop onto your health insurance's website and check out the different options in your area.

Dr. Joel E. Hershey popped up as one of the most promising choices on our insurance website. He has been practicing for 30+ years, is affiliated with LIJ's Schneider Children's hospital, and, best of all, was supposedly within walking distance of our place in Glendale. After a quick call to the office, however, it turns out that the online information for Dr. Hershey is out-of-date and he practices only in Happauge now--that's a good hour away folks!

Its back to the drawing board, then. Aside from great credentials and a welcoming office environment, location is a really important factor for us as we are a one-car family and I'd like the office to be nearby in case of emergency.

I'll be sure to post our hits and misses as we go through the process--I hope my findings will be helpful to you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cute Purchase Alert & Website Review: O.R.E. Originals Splat Mat

I just made my first purchase from! I just couldn't pass up this O.R.E. originals splat mat in their Yeehaw cowboy theme (click the image for the O.R.E. website):

Originally $30, MamaBargains has them on-sale for $13 for a limited time only. The mat is machine washable and perfect for mealtime or messy play. Now I just have to resist buying all of the other adorable cowboy items on the O.R.E. site, such as:

Hooray for (affordable) cute boy stuff! You should check out the rest of the O.R.E. site too. Their Sugarbooger kids line is adorable and surprisingly affordable, with super trendy diaper bags, nursery organizers, and gift sets.

Happy shopping, mamas!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Passed My 1-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test!

I just got off the phone with Dr. Charnes' office and I passed by 1-hour glucose tolerance test--hooray!

Taking the test was actually not bad at all. I didn't need to fast for the 1-hour test and the Quest location near me served the sweet orange glucose drink nice and cold (and delicious!) After drinking that down in a minute or two, I spent an hour hanging out in the lobby reading Good Housekeeping until it was time to have my blood drawn. That's it. Test is done.

If you're nervous about whether or not you'll be able to tolerate the glucose drink, you might want to call up your lab and ask if they normally refrigerate or can refrigerate the drink for you. I've heard that drinking down a warm glucose drink is rough!

Just a note: Dr. Charnes' office does not call you with the test results if they come back normal. I didn't know this, so I gave them a call this afternoon. No harm done, but the receptionist did sound the teeniest bit annoyed with me. Whoops!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Website Review:

Have you heard about A couple times a day the site posts various, really hip, baby/children's products at deep (50%-80%) discounts. I love it!

You have to be sure to check the site a few times a day as quantities are limited, but that makes the shopping all the more fun! Continuously updated bars on the side of the page let you know when a product is running low. Check it out!

Update: Follow Mama Bargains on Twitter HERE and you'll be updated when new products go on sale. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Store Review Part Deux: Woodbury Common

Mamas, Woodbury Common was a nightmare yesterday! The grounds were crowded, there were wars over the seats in the food court, there were 40-min-long lines to get into the top stores (Coach, Ugg, Burberry, etc.) and it took us almost 2 hours to get out of the parking lot due to poor (meaning "no") traffic control.

If you are pregnant or have small children, you are really going to want to stay away from Woodbury on a holiday or other high-volume shopping weekend. I ended up really nauseous by the time I got home because I had been unable to eat anything other than a corn dog, bratwurst, and french fries on the go the entire trip. (It would have been smart of me to bring snacks, but hindsight is 20/20 of course.)

People are also just ridiculously rude--New York City morning subway rush rude--on sale days at Woodbury. They push you, don't watch their children who run smack into you, let doors slam in your face/on your stroller, and, worst of all, a woman came up to a friend of ours and her baby and complained that she shouldn't have her child out amongst the germs. Seriously? We're already cranky, lady. Don't make us crankier.

Also, if you have a small child, you are going to want to bring all of their weather gear. It seems like the outlets are in a vortex and the wind was really rough on our friends 3-mo-old.

Despite all of this nonsense, and the fact that I didn't buy anything because the stores were too full, it was great to see my cousins. I'll probably even venture to Woodbury again, but next time I'll bring snacks and a winter coat (it was so chilly), will park right near the exit, and will go on a weekday!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Store Review: Woodbury Common Outlets in Central Valley has no Maternity!

The Woodbury Common Outlet Center in Central Valley is a nice day trip at just under an hour and a half driving from south Queens. You can usually find some great deals at stores from the Gap to Coach, but apparently none of the stores at Woodbury carry maternity clothing!

Ugh, I'm headed there this Sunday with cousins and I really wanted to buy a pair of leggings for fall layering (a necessity to extend the life of your summer dresses) and some pantyhose for the wedding I'm going to next week. I'm certain to have fun browsing through purses, shoes and housewares, but I'm just kind of bummed I won't be able to get my stockings--and no way am I squeezing into non-maternity hose!

Sigh. Just a heads-up for you mamas heading up to Woodbury. You'll be able to get some cute accessories--and maybe even purchase some larger sizes or some empire-waisted styles to supplement your wardrobe--but you won't be able to buy anything specifically made for maternity.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our First Birth Preparation Class at LIJ

We attended our first Preparation for Childbirth class last night at Long Island Jewish and it was pretty much what I expected it to be--a mixture of both really great info and a really scary birth video! Our class leader, LIJ nurse Brenda, was great, though, and turned a blind eye to the many groans and giggles coming from the four couples in her class.

We started off by discussing how far along we were and our greatest birth fears. We then went over some of the discomforts of late pregnancy and what we and our partners could do to alleviate them (massages please!)

We also discussed the three things we all needed to do before we reached 36 weeks:
  1. Pack TWO hospital bags. The first should be a small bag with only the things you will need while in labor--a toothbrush and toothpaste, hair ties, a lollipop to keep your mouth from getting too dry (no tootsie roll pops allowed!), things to occupy you between contractions (an iPod, book, etc.), cell phone, your focal point for Lamaze, etc. The second bag should contain your overnight items and baby's first outfit and should be kept in your car until after delivery.
  2. Find a pediatrician. Ask your friends, OB/GYN, or insurance company for recommendations. You'll want to have a pediatrician before you go into labor so that you can take the baby in for his first checkup soon after.
  3. Get a car seat and learn how to install it properly. LIJ hosts free car seat check-up events. Click HERE for more info. The next sessions are 10/17, 11/8, and 11/14. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 or visit their website HERE to find a certified car seat technician nearby who can help you out.
Following a quick snack and restroom break, we headed back into the classroom to watch the first 20 minutes of a video about childbirth, which scared the pants off of everybody! Our instructor then discussed the signs of labor and had us finish up the class with some deep breathing on our floor mats (you should bring a mat and two pillows).

Next Wed, we are going to take a tour of the maternity ward, which I'm really looking forward to. All of the labor and delievery rooms are private, but the recovery rooms have 2 to 5 beds (unless you want to pay $565 out of pocket per night for a private suite!) You do get to stay in the L&D for at least an hour after birth, though. Also, your baby stays with you 24/7 at LIJ, unless you want to send him to the nursery. I am very pleased about this!

Next week we'll also watch more of that darling video and discuss medical interventions (epidural, c-sections, etc.)

While the class costs a pricey $190 for 3 sessions and a breastfeeding class, I would definitely recommend it if you can't find something cheaper in your area. We had a good experience and while my husband may be a bit more nervous, I"m feeling a bit more at ease! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Got My Flu Shot at Walgreens

After my monthly checkup with Dr. Charnes, who did not believe my lame excuse that I wasn't getting too fat, I just had heavier clothes on, I received an email message from work--the hospital we are using ran out of flu vaccines already!! This sent me into a little bit of a panic because, my primary care doctor doesn't know when she's getting any in and a lot of the in-store pharmacies won't have their doses until mid-October. Eek!

So, I called up Walgreens on Eliot Avenue in Middle Village because I've been seeing the TV ads. They too had run out of the normal flu shots, BUT when I explained (calmly--a first for me!) that I was pregnant and frustrated that I couldn't find a shot even though I was considered "high risk," they said they DO have some preservative-free shots left over for pregnant ladies and to come right in!

Queen's mamas, if you are in the same predicament as me, rush on over to Walgreens at 8001 Eliot Ave! The pharmacist tells me that he has about 5 preservative-free vaccines left.

You can also try other Walgreens locations nearby, but be sure call first to make sure they have the vaccine. Click HERE for the store locator.

Good luck and be well!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Product Review: Pea in a Pod Sleeveless Babydoll Cocktail Dress

Sleeveless Babydoll Maternity Dress

I've finally found it: the perfect maternity cocktail dress! Sure, at $128 its a little bit more than what I wanted to spend on maternity clothes, but it is so cute and versatile that it'll be worth the dough. I plan to wear it to a fall wedding, a 50th birthday party, my shower, and even to work.

The dress is made out of a silk chiffon fabric, which I like so much better than the unforgiving and cheapish feeling poly/spandex that so many maternity dresses are made of. Seriously, why aren't more maternity dresses made out of real fabrics? I think some designers mistake the temporary nature of maternity clothing for it being disposable. Just because we're pregnant doesn't mean we want to look like we've lost all fashion sense.

In any case, I love this dress because it can be dressed up with jewelry and heels or dressed down with a work-friendly sweater. Its also sophisticated and pretty without revealing a lot up top or on bottom, and yet, it isn't overly long and dowdy (again, being pregnant doesn't automatically make you a sucker for mumus.)

For Queens Mamas, you can order this dress online HERE or pop into Destination Maternity or Macy's in Manhattan or Macy's in Manhassett (unfortunately, there aren't Pea in a Pod retailers in Queens proper).

FYI: The dress' attached slip is tighter than the fabric overlay. I had to purchase a size Large as I'm entering the third trimester of my pregnancy and I only had a bit more room left in the Medium's slip. If you're smaller up top, though, you might want to purchase the Medium and have a tailor work his magic on the slip!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Store Review: Babies R Us, College Point

I'm still pleasantly surprised when I come across an area of Queens that reminds me of my suburban upbringing. For example, the Babies R Us in College Point Queens is huge, clean, and organized, with tons of free parking outside--just like blessed suburbia!

Even on a Sunday afternoon,
we were able to get in and out of the store in 20 minutes or so to pick up our crib (which had been pre-ordered from a BRU upstate). We tossed that huge box into the car (with the help of the store staff of course), picked up some Chinese takeout, and headed on home. How nice to not have to stand in long Manhattan lines or lug everything home on our backs!

Here's our beautiful Sorelle lifetime crib, which we have yet to build, and which was purchased on-sale for $275!

Sorelle Tuscany Elite Lifetime Crib - Oak Cider - C&T International  - Babies"R"Us
I would definitely recommend getting your furnit ure through this store. If I could do it again, I'd probably set up my registry at this store too since it is much easier to navigate--and less crowded--than the store in Manhattan's Union Square.

Now, if I open up the box and find out the crib is in any way damaged, I may be singing another tune! I'll keep you posted with pics soon, Queens Mamas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Old Navy Maternity

At six months pregnant this Friday, the time has finally come for me to add some moderately-priced fall maternity clothing to my wardrobe! Yesterday I popped into one of the few Old Navy's in our area that has a maternity section and found some great shirts on sale, specifically these:

$9.90 $10.00

I'm wearing the green shirt today and it is oh-so-comfy and cute. The website has even cuter stuff including a $25 dress that is perfect for an October wedding I will be attending (I'm in love with the fact that it has sleeves to cover my plumped up pregnant arms) and the elusive maternity coat, available in plum or gray, priced at only $34.50 (compare that to over $100 at Pea in a Pod!) :

$25.00 $34.50

I do advise against any of Old Navy's elastic-waist pants, however. I tried on a pair in-store and they are just darn uncomfortable! You're better off with the Maternity Perfect pants, which are similar to Motherhood's Secret Fit Belly styles.

Check it out! Click here for locations of Old Navy's that stock maternity clothes in and around Queens: STORES.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On Tony Bourdain's visit to Queens Restaurants

I am a big fan of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations" hosted by Tony Bourdain, but this past Sunday's episode which featured NYC's outer boroughs disappointed me so much!

Queens has so much more to offer than Asian cuisine in Flushing! By visiting only Golden Shopping Mall, Sik Gaek, and the canteen at Ganesh Temple, Tony not only insults the other cultures in what is America's most diverse neighborhoods, but is missing out on some of the best food in New York!

How can he ignore the great Greek restaurants of Astoria? The Arabic restaurants on Steinway and Indian restaurants in Jackson Heights (Really? He skipped over Jackson Heights and went to a temple basement in Flushing?) What about the German, Italian, Polish, Croatian, Spanish, Serbian, American, Mexican.... need I list them all?

He similarly neglected great cuisine in Staten Island, the Bronx (He went to one place!) and Brooklyn (Why would he pick a dim sum place? You can get that anywhere.)

I propose Tony Bourdain calls a Mulligan and produces new episodes, an entire hour for each borough--nothing else will do. And, as a pregnant woman whose expertise in food comes from her life revolving around it at the moment, I suggest he includes these Queens wonders, for starters:

Sunswick 35/35 (Astoria)

Zum Stammtisch (Glendale)
Ice King of Corona (Corona)
Jour et Nuit (Astoria)
Jackson Diner (Jackson Heights)
El-Rawsheh (Astoria)

I could go on and on about each of these places and others, but that's fodder for individual posts! Oh, but you just wait until I reveal their deliciousness to you (and to Tony Bourdain). We Queens mamas are lucky to have such a wonderful variety of great food nearby, regardless of what television programs imply!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Product Review: Larabar

One of my biggest struggles being pregnant is satisfying my frighteningly-large appetite in a healthy way while on the go. While I've had many cookie/cake/McDonald's feasts over the past few months, it doesn't mean I haven't been on the lookout for something healthy and delicious that I can eat in a pinch.

Well, I think I've found my answer. I have eaten three Larabars in the past 15 hours and I am not ashamed. These bars are not only good, they're good for you at about 200 calories each and made entirely of fruit and nuts. They have no added sugar, are raw, unprocessed, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, vegan and kosher. But, who cares... most important of all, they are YUMMY!

Larabars come in flavors like Banana Bread, Peanut Butter Cookie, Cinnamon Roll and Coconut Cream Pie (oh my!) Each of the flavors I have tried are sweet and delicious and I love the bar's dense texture. They're totally filling and they don't taste like those fake power bars (because they are not).

I stumbled upon Larabars while on a ravenous bender in Whole Foods in Manhattan's Union Square ($1.89 a bar), but they're available for us Queens mamas at Trader Joes at 90-30 Metropolitan Avenue. You can also order bars online at the Larabar Store linked HERE. They are $2 a bar or $27 ($1.69 a bar) for a box of 16.

I'm thinking I'll need to buy myself the $27 variety pack with all 16 flavors. Luckily, my husband doesn't like the bars (too healthy?) so I will get to have them all to myself!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Dr. Austin Chen Problems

Ugh. The best decision I could have made was switching from Dr. Chen to Dr. Charnes, but that doesn't mean that I'm not still dealing with lingering Dr. Chen grief!

About two weeks ago, I filled out the required record transfer forms and faxed the request over to Dr. Chen, but her receptionist (the office consists of only Dr. Chen and the receptionist) soon after left me a phone message questioning the forms.

I tried calling her back for over a week, but, because the receptionist went on vacation, nobody was answering Dr. Chen's phones. Now, my situation wasn't dire (even though Dr. Chen never gave me the results of my NT scan--lame of her--and Dr. Charnes needs it ASAP), but can you imagine if you were having a medical emergency and couldn't reach your doctor because she had no backup for her phones? Dr. Chen wasn't even answering her "super convenient" email address.

In any case, I finally got in touch with the receptionist and she told me that she can give me my records, but only if I come into the office to pick them up. But, what pregnant woman wants to haul her ass down to Chambers Street on a hot day to pick up medical records? Sucks.

Ladies, if you're thinking of using Dr. Chen, I highly advise you to interview her first and trust any bad vibes you're getting. Maybe you'll find out that you like her free-spiritedness, but don't wait as long as I did to figure out that you don't.

Birth Preparation Classes at Long Island Jewish Hospital

So, I really need to get on the ball and register for a birth preparation class! I'm 21 weeks pregnant on Friday and I really wasn't thinking about signing up for a class until my first appointment with Dr. Charnes a couple weeks ago. My previous doctor didn't even talk about childbirth classes (see below posts for my previous doctor horror story), but Dr. Charnes actually gave me the class registration form at my appointment!

If you need to sign up for classes at Long Island Jewish, you can also visit their website HERE. Clicking on "register" on the right-hand side will bring up a form for you to print and fill out.

I really am looking forward to the classes and the hospital tour! With the baby kicking up a storm now, my stomach getting bigger, and classes in the near future, everything is becoming more of a reality. My husband even said yesterday "I want to sign up for a class to be a good dad." I don't think he'll need to be taught that, but it is incredibly sweet of him to think of it. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My First Appt with Dr. Stacey Charnes in Forest Hills

I am so extremely pleased after my first appointment with Dr. Stacey Charnes! She was thorough and kind and I found her office staff to be stellar. Unlike my former OB/GYN in Manhattan, Dr. Charnes made sure I was up to date on all my bloodwork and ultrasounds, had me fill out a form to preregister at Long Island Jewish Hospital, and gave me the right due date (apparently my previous doctor had miscalculated by a week!) Dr. Charnes' staff also provided me with information on birth classes and cord blood banking. I left the office with a folder of information--and how very nice it was to finally feel informed!

If you search the internet, you might find some reviews of Dr. Charnes which say she has poor bedside manner. While I didn't experience this with her at all, if you are looking for a doctor who is more c'est la vie about the birth process (meaning, they don't put too much stock in food/drink restrictions, they calm your concerns with lots of "don't worries" rather than facts, etc.), she may not be the doctor for you. While I don't think I will follow all of the food restrictions, I feel most at ease when I am well-informed, so Dr. Charnes feels like a great match.

I'll of course update you if she ever forgets what she is talking about mid-sentence or leaves a tourniquet on my arm for ten minutes because she forgot where the needles are (like my old doctor did multiple times!)

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Ode to the Rockland County Day-Trip (Also, Sunburnt Mama)

I spent this weekend at my parents' house in Rockland County, NY. If you haven't been to Rockland, its only a short car or train/ferry ride from Queens, and there's lots to do with kids or someone special. I suggest a visit to Bear Mountain State Park, to fish or hang out around the lake or ride the carousel, or a visit to one of the beaches at Harriman State Park.

The pool at Rockland Lake is super-crowded with both city and Rockland folk and, according to MetroParent, one of the pools is closed due to budget cuts this year. If you like crowded public pools, you might as well go to the pool at nearby Astoria Park instead. That way, if you get too aggravated, you're closer to home!

Save your time in Rockland County for exploring the gorgeous, tree-filled scenery and views of the Hudson River. And don't forget to stop by Hoyers' on Route 9W in West Haverstraw for some of the most delicious soft-serve in the state. This throwback to sweeter, simpler times has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. The place has almost 3,000 fans on Facebook right now, so you can bet its others' favorite too.

I left Rockland a much calmer person after sitting by the pool all day and taking in the view of the Hudson and the mountains beyond. I also left Rockland a much redder person--perhaps my underground commute has made my skin more sensitive to the sun! In any case, sunburn is not known to have a negative effect on a pregnant woman's unborn child, but I've learned my lesson (as I seem to learn at least once every year.) Despite how tan you were when you were a kid on summer break, pregnant and non-pregnant mammas alike, I beg you to wear sunscreen! It is not comfortable and it is not good for YOUR health in the long run.

PSA over.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Product Review: Motherhood Maternity Secret Fit Belly(tm) Poplin Convertible Pants


Here it finally is, my love letter to the Motherhood Maternity Secret Fit Belly Poplin Convertible Pants (that's a mouthful!) These pants have been my savior over the last few weeks. The Secret Fit Belly is extremely comfortable pulled up our folded down and I really like the convertible cargo capri to long pants style (you never know when those pregnancy hormones are gonna make you hot or cold.) They also make my ever-growing butt look cuter and smaller (awesome) and are a nice enough material to wear to work in a not-too-formal office environment.

While $40 bucks a pop may seem like a lot of money, you'll really get your money's worth if you're like me and wear the pants every other day. Seriously, when I visited the maternity clothing mother ship, Destination Maternity in Manhattan, and my two pairs of pants rang up to about $80, I almost cried. But I was a desperate woman with no pants and now I am comfy all the time in the Secret Fit Belly.

A word of warning: Just like Motherhood's tummy sleeve, the secret fit belly material will snag on jagged fingernails and the like and start to unravel if you do not wash the pants carefully. Keep those nails filed and wash the pants on gentle/cold and you'll be OK. You can even throw the pants in the drier on medium and they won't shrink (but the black pants will get ridiculously fuzzy.)

Enjoy the style and comfort!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dr. Stacey Charnes in Forest Hills

I just got off the phone with Susan at the office of Dr. Stacey B. Charnes' (pronounced Charn-ez) and I think I've found my new doctor! Susan was really helpful and didn't treat me like an idiot when pregnancy brain made me forget where Long Island Jewish Hospital was located (New Hyde Park, just in case you're curious). I was able to book an appointment right away despite having left my insurance card at home.

What I learned from Susan: The medical group where Dr. Charnes works in Forest Hills is not an all-female group, so there is a chance you may need to work with a male doctor in an emergency. Dr. Charnes is available Wednesdays and Thursdays (which doesn't help us ladies who work), but I was told I will only need to have a Wed or Thurs appointment the first time I visit the group (I assume this means other doctors will do weigh-ins if I opt for another day of the week.)

My appointment with Dr. Charnes is the second week of August, so I'll be able to give you my thoughts on her bedside manner, etc. then. I'm just hoping I've finally hit the Queens OB/GYN jackpot. Dr. Charnes has been reccomended a few times on, but nothing is very recent. We shall see what next month brings.

Dr. Charnes' info:

6905 Yellowstone Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 544-8400

Happy hunting to all of you in the same position!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Doctor Search Continues: Dr. Richard Roberts $ Dr. Marti Gilbert

I set my sites upon an OB/GYN with great reviews who delivers at several Queens hospitals: Dr. Richard Roberts, who has offices in Glendale, Flushing, and Great Neck. However, I just got off the phone with his office and he isn't delivering anymore! And, the delivering doctor at the practice, Dr. Marti Gilbert (who has received wonderful reviews too), is on maternity leave due to complications with her own delivery. Aiyaiyai.

I hope to have a great Queens OB/GYN to tell you about soon. I do have a lot of requirements--easy to get to by walking/bus, delivers at Long Island Jewish, has great reviews, etc.--but I don't think those are too irrational. I mean, don't we all want our baby to be in the best hands?

Not that I'm saying my husband wouldn't be super careful if he did indeed have to catch the baby football-style, in a car, in a snowstorm. ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Doctor Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

So many of us city borough dwellers work in Manhattan because, well, that’s where so many of the jobs are. (Believe me, enduring a bus-to-two subway trains commute, usually standing the whole way, is not ideal.) Since we’re in the city so much, and because our commutes get us home long after many doctors’ hours, we end up seeing doctors in Manhattan, usually on our lunch breaks.

I even went so far as to see on OB/GYN in Manhattan who only delivers in Manhattan thinking that it would be easier for my relatives to drive to and would be close by if I went into labor during work.

But seriously, am I fricken crazy??

What if I go into labor during rush hour, making the 30-minute trip into an 1:30 minute trip? And really, is it ever not rush hour here? Even more, I’m due in January and, as one very helpful woman pointed out on The Bump last night, what if I go into labor during rush hour during a blizzard? I can only imagine my husband kneeling in the snow outside the car, arms at the ready to football catch our little one.

So, the decision has been made to change to a doctor who delivers closer to home. We’ve actually got a really great hospital—Long Island Jewish—only 20 minutes away and it just seems like the smart and sane thing to do. (The hospital has an online nursery with pictures HERE. I’m not sure what I think of this yet. Cute or scary?)

Also, my last doctor, Dr. Austin Chen in Tribeca, was a little bit too silly for my tastes anyway. She sometimes stopped talking mid-sentence and would turn to me and say “I forgot what I was talking about.” Woah, lady, please don’t forget what you’re doing when you’ve got your hands on (in?) me! To be fair, though, my cousin used her and loved her and she has many love/hate reviews online. Urban Baby reviews of her are HERE.

I’ll be sure to report my doctor findings here to let you in on any Queens gems. I also can’t wait to write about my Motherhood Maternity cargo pants. I’m wearing them now and I am so comfortable even after eating about a pound of cheese.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where have I been? And, Product Review Revisited: Motherhood Maternity's Tummy Sleeve

Yikes, where have I been ? I’ve actually been moving from North to South Queens and, what with a baby on the way and poor hubby having to do all the heavy moving and (the horror) unpacking, we’re just starting to see the ground underneath all the boxes in our new place!

But now, back to your regularly scheduled Queens Mama:

Despite the previous post, I never did quite get around to getting the Bella Band and, you know what, I’m glad I didn’t. Despite unraveling a bit, my Motherhood Tummy Sleeves have held up and I’m still using them to hold up the few non-maternity pants I still fit into at 4 months pregnant.

So, here's my final verdict: For those of us looking to save some money and extend the life of our non-maternity wardrobe, you can't go wrong with purchasing one or two Motherhood Tummy Sleeves at $17 each. Make sure to hand-wash them (or use the gentle cycle on your washer) if you don’t want them to unravel too much. And be careful with any jagged fingernails you may have if you don’t want the fabric to snag. But, in the end, these sleeves will serve you well and won’t break the bank while you’re waiting to fit into those maternity clothes of your dreams.

Next up on the review list: Baby Bargains--the mother's baby-product-buying-bible--and Motherhood Maternity cargo pants, my favorite new pants that make all of my non-pregnant friends jealous!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Product Review: Motherhood Maternity's Tummy Sleeve

The Motherhood Tummy Sleeve

A couple of weeks ago I bought the Motherhood Maternity Tummy Sleeve from their store in the Queens Center Mall. I had been loving it because it allows me to leave my too-tight jeans unbuttoned (or semi unbuttoned using the hair-tie through your buttonhole method). And, at about $17, it was $10 cheaper than the coveted Ingrid & Isabel Bella Band.

Yesterday, however, I noticed a little string hanging suspiciously from the band. Upon further inspection, I found out the whole dang hem of the sleeve was coming out after only 4 wears and zero washes!

I do have another, similarly worn, never washed, Tummy Sleeve that is still intact, but I've got to do a little bit of investigating to find the product that will give the best bang for the buck. Once I receive my Belly Band in the mail (sadly, it seems that nobody in Queens carries it, but you can buy it through JC Penny, Baby Earth and others for around $26), I'll wear the heck out of the thing and give you the down-low.

And, don't worry remaining Motherhood Tummy Sleeve, maybe you'll surprise me and live a long life. Maybe Tummy Sleeve numero uno was a bad apple.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I am a Queens mama-to-be and I'm frustrated with the lack of info out there about our borough, aren't you? Not all of the NYC mamas live on the UWS or in Park Slope. We're out here in the country's most diverse county and we've got a lot going for us, so why isn't anybody talking about it?

Some questions my pregnant self is asking:

  • How will I know where to satisfy my late-night peanut butter ice cream and cookie craving?
  • Where in the world am I going to find infant childcare that is good and doesn't cost a fortune?
  • I'm getting fatter and poorer, so how can I make my non-preg clothes last as long as possible and where can I find cheap maternity when it becomes necessary?

Well, I guess I'm going to have to do some investigating myself! I hope that along the way you'll find some answers to your questions as well.

I look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood!