Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 28, 2010

British magazine calls breastfeeding "creepy"

I was really annoyed to hear that the deputy editor at Britain's Mother and Baby magazine called breastfeeding "creepy." Kathryn Blundell wrote in a July 10th article that she couldn't stomach the idea of her baby taking over her "fun bags" (her words) and that she just "wanted [her] body back. (And some wine.)" Furthermore, "even the convenience and health benefits couldn't induce [her] to stick [her] nipple into a bawling baby's mouth."

Grrrr. This really bothers me, especially when Blundell has such a wide-reaching platform for her nonsense. Breastfeed or don't breastfeed--its up to you--but how dare she, especially as the editor of a parenting magazine, write something so insensitive and uninformed?

First off, we don't have breasts just for our (or our significant others') sexual pleasure. We have them primarily so that we may feed our babies--how can their natural function be construed as "creepy?"

Secondly, you can certainly enjoy alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding. Or did Blundell intend to get smashed on a regular basis? With a new baby, I would think she had other, more important things to focus on?

Finally, I'm just getting fed up with this new crop of "super cool" mommies who think its really funny to constantly talk about their children as if they are cramping their style. Don't get me wrong--I'm a wise-ass New Yorker and I'll joke around about poop explosions with the best of them--but Blundell seems like one of these ladies who is pissed she has to change diapers instead of going out for cosmos or because she now has to carry a diaper bag instead of her Coach (get a Coach diaper bag lady!)

Yes, we want our bodies back after nine months of pregnancy and, yes, life maybe isn't as raucously booze-filled as it was in our early twenties, but you chose to have a baby (and keep that baby) so get over yourself!

More importantly, even though times get rough (and will get rougher when that baby becomes a teenager), please don't ever talk about your children as if they are anything less than blessing... and, if you have a lapse in judgement, for God's sake don't publish it in a national magazine!

The Sun (UK) has an article about the whole thing HERE (link fixed!) if you're interested in reading more. Although, one of the women interview for the article is almost as bad as Blundell saying "I would never have got my boobs out in front of male relatives, my father-in-law would have had a heart attack!"

Um, nobody's asking you to breastfeed in public if you aren't comfortable with it. How do people get these thoughts in their head?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Product Review: Fisher-Price Lil Laugh n' Learn Jumperoo

Hello! Sorry for the long gap between posts. We had family in town for Andrew's christening this past weekend. Since I was the only dodo who unwittingly chose a Father's Day christening date at my church, we ended up with a beautiful private ceremony.  It brought me to tears! (Luckily, there were no tears from Andrew--he slept through the entire thing!)

Another beautiful thing about this weekend is that we brought Andrew's Fisher-Price Lil Laugh n' Learn jumperoo back from storage (aka my parents' house.) This thing is a life-saver now that Andrew is not happy reclining in his bouncy seat or staying put on his playmat anymore. I just pop him in the jumperoo and he's content enough to let me get some cleaning done!

This jumperoo is just so fricken cute and goes perfectly with our farm theme. At five months, Andrew has just discovered how to bounce up and down in it and spin himself around to play with the toy corn, tomato and carrot, the peekaboo horse and pigs, the spinning ducks, etc. He seems to really like the sounds the bouncer makes too, which includes an instrumental music mode, an extremely exuberant singing lady mode, and an interactive mode with educational phrases ("red tomato," "the cow is black and white," etc.)

Assembling the jumperoo was a snap and I find it to be really sturdy even in my apartment which has weirdly sloped floors (ugh.) The only drawbacks: its too big to fit through some doorways and Andrew sometimes gets his arm stuck between the red arch and the yellow fence with the pigs. It doesn't seem to hurt him, but the poor boy can't move! Also, sometimes the educational mode gets confused and will say "red carrot" or "yellow tomato." I'm anticipating later confusion!

At around $107, I find this jumperoo a bit pricy, but it seems to be the average going rate for these items. In any case, I would purchase it again just because of the fun Andrew has in it! He is really starting to jump and chatter up a storm now--and mama's floors are getting cleaned too!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Friday!

I'm switching it up this week and participating in a couple of new bloghops today. Welcome new friends! Be sure to check out the 10 honest scraps about me in the post below.

The Trendy TreehouseThe Girl Creative

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My very first blog award! (10 honest scraps about me)

Sara over at NinjaPanza is awesome and sent me my very first blog award! Check her blog out, not just because she awarded me, but because she writes some really great, funny stuff. (I really loved especially her spot-on posts about the conflicting feelings that go along with breastfeeding.) Oh, and her son is adorable!

To accept this award, I must post 10 "honest scraps" about myself and nominate 5 bloggers to do the same to receive their own award. It really is a great way to get to know each other better!

Here we go:
  1. I am serious about karaoke and will belt out a song like I'm on American Idol. I will secretly cry inside if someone sings offkey (but I will appreciate their effort none-the-less!) 
  2. I studied opera for fun in college. It was an interesting change of pace from karaoke!
  3. I speak Italian but did not learn it from my parents, who speak a Sicilian dialect. I took Italian language classes in school for 9 years.
  4. I love love love circus peanuts candy. 
  5. I am really afraid of flying. My husband, whose father is a retired pilot, is not afraid and doesn't understand how I could be. He buys me above mentioned circus peanuts before flights to make me feel better. I wish they were laced with tranquilizers. 
  6. I like watching tween shows like Hannah Montana and That's So Raven. Perhaps I feel like I'm still 16 at heart. 
  7. I was brought up to be really supersticious. Even though I try hard not to, I can't help getting twitchy when people put shoes on tables, turn bread upside down, give me the malocchio (evil eye), etc. 
  8. I love country music. 
  9. I have lived in New York State my entire life (with a couple month foray into Weeeeeeeeehawken, NJ). My husband has lived in Dubai, Germany, Ireland, New York, Texas and Florida. 
  10. I am a fan of the Shandy (beer + sprite) and will order them in bars even if people think I am a weeny because of it! :) 
Hope you don't think I'm too strange now! Now, I nominate the following bloggers at the following great sites to post their 10 honest scraps and collect their reward:
Can't wait to read your 10 honest scraps! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nursing Pad Showdown! Johnson's, Medela, and Washable Pads by MyBellaBaby

You may recall that I had been using Johnson's disposable nursing pads (reviewed HERE) and was thinking of switching to washable pads to save some money. So, I ordered adorable rewashable pads from MyBellaBaby on Etsy to give rewashables a test drive.

The washables I bought are gorgeous, super soft, and easy to wash, but unfortunately they are not a good fit for me. The seaming around the edge of the pads gives them a hard outer border which did not lay flat against my body, making them super visible under my clothes. Sigh. I'm now looking for another use for the pads because they are beautiful (coasters, maybe?)

Medela Disposable Nursing Pads - 30 Ct Box
Before going back to using Johnson's disposables, a friend gave me a pair of Medela disposables to try. The Medela pads are super thin and discreet under clothing, which I liked a lot. They also have a larger circumference than Johnson's pads. The negative: they rustle like a crinkly diaper when touched and--to me at least--feel synthetic, not-so-soft, and sweaty. Also they cost more than Johnson's at my local CVS ($12.50 vs $8.00)

Johnson's Nursing Pads- 60 CtAnd so, I'm back to using Johnson's disposable nursing pads and I have a new appreciation for how soft, countoured, and cheap they are. I just wish they didn't have that darn nipple indent that pokes out of thinner shirts!

I think I'll head over to Johnson's website now and send them some friendly input. Couldn't hurt, right? Here's to the production of a nursing pad that doesn't make your girls stand out (literally!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Big Apple BBQ Block Party is this Weekend!

Its finally here, the weekend my husband and I dream about all year. June 12-13 marks the 8th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in Manhattan's Madison Square Park! What? You've never heard of this weekend of beautiful gluttony? Oh, I shall explain then...

Since 2003, pit masters from around the United States have descended on Madison Square Park to sell their delicious wares to the hungry masses. From as far west as Baker's Ribs in Texas to Rack and Soul in NYC, 17 barbecue joints will choose one tasty BBQ dish to sell at $8 a pop this Sat and Sun. Baby back ribs, pulled pork, whole hog, homemade smoke sausage, beef brisket, coleslaw, some local beer and more will soon be in my belly!

The lines are super long, as you can imagine, so we've purchased a Fast Pass for 3 years running which allows us to get on the shorter VIP lines and gives us $100 of food (yes, we can eat that much!). And because this will be our first year bringing Andrew to the festival, I've already started strategizing which stalls we'll hit first. Oh, who am I kidding--I strategized last year too!

If you're in the NYC area, a good tip is to bring a blanket and/or camp chairs and your own drinks to save all your money for the 'cue. Also, if you need a bathroom, there are pay bathrooms around the park, but you can also try using the bathrooms at Best Buy or Home Depot on 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Well, I better get to work packing our picnic gear and the baby's diaper bag. We're headed out nice and early. Hope you can make it there if you're in the area!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Friday Follow Time

I'm participating in the following Friday Follows this week. Welcome new friends!

Smart and Trendy Moms

Website Review: Vocalpoint

I've mentioned before how much I love websites that allow us consumers to influence product production and campaigns--and how I especially love when free swag is to be had from it! So, if you're like me, you should definitely check out

Vocalpoint is  a community for moms who like to give their opinions. There are surveys to be taken, free product samples up for grabs, and (occasionally) focus groups to join. Just recently I received samples of Puffs tissues, Pantene shampoo and conditioner, and Kashi cereal, as well as coupons for various other products. My husband is always in awe that this free stuff keeps coming our way!

When you're not participating in product reviewing and surveys, the site also provides articles on health and beauty, food, household tips, and family life to read and discuss. I've found these to be a great way to pass the time between free sample "try and tell" campaigns, which can be a couple of weeks.

So, go ahead and join Vocalpoint, mamas! Its free and you get free stuff--I can't think of a better deal.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I really enjoy seeing others' Wordless Wednesday posts, so I've decided to jump on the digital bandwagon! Here is my first (not so) Wordless Wednesday photo.  Andrew and I are in front of a gorgeous bunch of wild roses at my parents' house.

Hope your day was a great one!

Product Review: Neutrogena UltraSheer Liquid Daily Sunblock

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock SPF 70 - 1.4 oz.

I was chosen by Tidal Labs to review Neutrogena's UltraSheer Liquid daily sunblock. I've been using the sunblock on my face and neck for about a week now and I must say, "Bravo Neutrogena!"

The sunblock is a super protective SPF 70 and contains helioplex, a sun protection technology that blocks both uva and uvb rays. My Google searching tells me that uvb rays burn the skin, while uva rays cause more long-term damage that ages the skin, so its great that UltraSheer protects against both.

The sunblock definitely does what it promises to and does it well. Though it felt a bit thick going on, it became light and moisturizing on my skin a few minutes after application. And, most importantly, my face hasn't gotten burnt at all after several long walks with Andrew during blazing mid-day sunlight (don't worry, my fair baby redhead is always covered up when we're out and about!) I haven't noticed any skin breakouts or irritation from the sunblock either.

The only negatives are that my husband doesn't like the scent of Ultrasheer when I first put it on, so thankfully it quickly fades away. Also, maybe I just have a big face (ha!), but a couple drops of the sunblock as noted in the application directions are not enough for me. I've got to use at least a nickel-sized amount and at around $17 for 1.4 fl oz of sunblock, I'm not certain how expensive it would get for me down the line. (I'll be sure to report back on how long the bottle lasts!)

I really do like the UltraSheer liquid, though, and think Neutrogena is onto a good thing here with a really protective sunblock that is light enough to be worn like lotion under makeup. My mom has had numerous basal cell growths removed from her face, so I know how important it is to shield yourself from the sun. You know, we take such precautions to shield our children with SPF 100, but we sometimes forget about ourselves!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the product mentioned above for free for review purposes from Tidal Labs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gardening for the soul

We decided to plant a garden this year, both at my parents' house up north and on our bitty porch in Queens. And while we're by no means experts at gardening, our little plot is already bearing figurative fruit.

Both my husband, who is always in pain from his HVAC job, and my dad, who had a stroke two years ago and still works a super-demanding paving job, are like little kids working in that garden! They're always coming up with new ways to make it better (irrigation system, anyone?) and are so proud of the sprouting vegetables.

My mom, who actually IS a gardening expert thanks to my grandpa, has been amazing sharing all of her knowledge with us. She knows just how to pick a zucchini flower to make into an omelet and how to plant cucumbers in wide rows. And, best of all, I think doing something that her father loved to do brings back happy memories (you know, he counted all of his tomatoes so he'd know when one was stolen!).

And I am loving how close together the garden is making us.  If I had known there was so much spiritual wellness to be harvested from a garden, we would have planted one years ago!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Adventures in Baby Food

With Love in Spoonfuls as my guide, I made up a pretty mean sweet potato puree for Andrew last night. Of course, I didn't follow the directions completely and ended up with a thick mush that needs milk added after it is thawed, but I think I did well for my first go-round! Most importantly, Andrew gobbled it up!

The finished product (frozen using my ice cube tray and not as glamorous looking as the cubes in the cookbook):

I'm pleased with the results and the modest savings. Four small sweet potatoes cost me 70 cents at my corner produce market (ah, Queens and your produce markets) and made about 20 servings--that's a savings of about $2 compared with the $1 Gerber double packs at the local Stop & Shop. Also, the frozen homemade food lasts longer (3 months) than the opened store-bought food.  

What have your experiences been with making your own baby purees? I'm definitely going to continue to do it, especially when we are eating a vegetable for dinner that Andrew can have. That, I think, is the key to getting the most benefit out of homemade baby purees.

That and following the recipes... or at least using cooking common sense, which I don't have!

Friday Follow and Andrew's First Sweet Potatoes

Its Friday (hooray!) which means its time to connect with other bloggers via Friday Follows. This week I'm participating in the following bloghops...

Smart and Trendy Moms

In other news... Andrew is really enjoying his sweet potatoes these days and we're looking forward to starting him on other foods (including homemade purees) soon. As promised, here is my little boy with potatoes to match his hair smeared all over the place.

Enjoy your Friday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Please help baby Sam

Please click HERE or on the button at the top of the right-hand column to help out baby Sam, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in April. Sam was given a 30% chance of being cured and his family is struggling to pay their COBRA bill on top of that terrible diagnosis.

And please post about this funds drive on your blog! I'm posting about Sam because of a post by NinjaPanza; if you could post about him because of me and we can keep the chain reaction going, hopefully we can reach the $7500 goal for the Sartin family's COBRA bill by June 11th.

You can keep up with Sam and the Sartins and offer your prayers at their blog HERE. God bless the family for their strength and let's all wish for a miracle.

Product Review: Johnson's Disposable Nursing Pads

Johnson's Nursing Pads- 60 Ct

I use Johnson's Nursing Pads because, frankly, they're the cheaper of the two disposable pads offered in my neighborhood CVS! Around $8.00 for 60 pads (a month's supply) seems quite reasonable for nice disposable nursing pad such as these. They are really soft, hold a lot of leakage, and have an adhesive backing strip if you choose to stick them to your bra. (I tend not to stick them on, though, as they always pop off when I fold my bra down to nurse.)

There are, though, a few negatives: 1) the pads leave fuzz on your nipple which you have to wipe off before feeding baby (annoying) and tend to stick to wounded nipples (painful!) 2) They have a center indent meant to allow breathing room for sore nipples, but which actually makes the pad visible under certain clothing. And, 3) I keep thinking about how I could save myself a little money by just buying reusable pads!

When my current box of disposables runs out, I'm going to try out some super cute washable pads I just purchased from Etsy shop MyBellaBaby (I paid $5.50 for these 4 pads). They are made with flannel, fleece and cotton, so I'm betting they're comfortable, absorbant, and hopefully do not stick to or leave residue on the skin. They're machine washable too for those of you blessed with a washer/drier (like this Queens mama is not!)


I'll be sure to write a review of MyBellaBaby's nursing pads soon! I also purchased these amazingly adorable "soft little washies" from the store and can't wait to try and tell those as well ($7.95 for 5).


Oh my, have I started you on an Etsy shopping spree today? :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Product Review Revisited: Leading Lady Molded Stretch Pad Nursing Bra

Leading Lady Molded Stretch Pad Nursing Bra 410

You might remember my glowing review of the Leading Lady Molded Stretch Pad Nursing Bra. I still love this bra for its fit and value, and wear them almost exclusively, but I've just noticed that one of mine is falling apart. Despair!

I guess you could expect this from a $20-ish bra that I have been throwing into a laundromat washer and drier, but I was still sad to see the front of one bra cup separating from the molded pad beneath after 4 months of (heavy-duty) wear. Then again, most bras do fall apart over time--even the fancy $40+ ones from Victoria's Secret that I wore before Andrew commandeered my boobs. So, I'm glad that I didn't spend much on these and can actually afford buying a replacement.

I guess there's a lot of bra hand-washing in my future. One more bra will not be murdered by my laziness!

3/10/13 UPDATE: I've purchased and am wearing a bunch more of these while breastfeeding my second child and--while they are still the most normal looking nursing bra I've found--I've noticed they are prone to having the underwire pop out at the center of the bra as well! No, I haven't been handwashing the bras as promised above. But it seems handwashing really is a must with these.