Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Imaginary Play

Dragonfly's Hollow makes incredible custom Waldorf dolls. This fairy mermaid is one of Isla's favorites.

Another key play item is playsilks. They are great for all ages, and "grow with your child." You can find them almost anywhere, but I like the ones from The Farm House Boutique for their hand-dyed uniqueness.

Toddler Backpacks

When Isla started trying to carry around more than she could hold comfortably in her arms, I decided it was time for a backpack. The best ones I've seen are hand made and available here.

Magical Kids' Room Decor

Harvest Moon By Hand makes these beautiful window stars for your little one's room.

My daughter has the rainbow sun catcher up in hers, and it definitelyadds a touch of magic to her space. They start at $10 and are available here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

International Bebé

What was I thinking taking my toddler to Europe?? My first advice is don't do it. If possible, postpone until your child is older and take a more child-friendly vacation. If that's not possible, then I do have a few tips for you to hopefully make your excursion easier for you and Baby.

First, do bring a stroller. Yes, if you are taking the subway and traveling on cobbled streets and climbing crazy staircases a stroller will suck, but not as much as not having one at all. I only brought my ergo pack, and wore her the entire time. We won't go into the back problems I am still dealing with.

Second, consider your baby. Both France and England have great parks, and really any patch of grass where Baby can safely run around for a while will be much appreciated. London has the best parks we've ever seen, with special buzz-in gates surrounding the child area to keep kidnappers and pervs away. Besides the parks, the only other places we saw other babies were the toy stores. We played for hours in each one. **Make sure you make a time agreement with your little one rather than just scooping him or her up when you are ready to go. Tantrums are guaranteed if I don't let Isla know when she only has one more minute left to play. I remind her again at thirty seconds, and then count down from ten.

Third, bring your partner. My husband was still recovering from back surgery when we took our trip. The single parent thing is even harder than it looks.

Lastly, don't forget to ask! Or at least make sure the person in charge sees you have a babe with you. France is so baby-friendly. People smiled at me just because I was carrying a baby... kind of like they do here in the states when they see a pregnant lady. We did not have to wait in line anywhere because as soon as Isla and I were spotted we were whisked away to the front. Do ask if you are able to get a bassinet for the flight. Whether or not you choose to use it, you will be seated in a row with substantially more leg room.

I have a feeling this was my last trip to Europe for a long time. I am, however, heading off to Cabo after the first of the year, so I'll be sure to post about that. This time I will have backup, and between my husband, siblings, and mom I'm anticipating a more relaxing trip.

***Cabo was excellent. Probably the most fun we've had as a family, ever. Go someplace warm with an ocean and pool, and save the Europe trip for when Baby is older!

Why Anatomically Correct Dolls?

In my search for the best anatomically correct dolls, I found a surprising amount of opposition.  Even some of our family members didn't understand why we wanted Isla to have a couple of anatomically correct dolls.  What started out as a simple quest for a good Christmas toy turned into an interesting debate with friends and family.

Why would we want Isla's dolls to have genitals.  Simple:  Gasp!  She has genitals.  So do all of her baby friends, and every other human being I know of.  Why would her dolls have faces, arms, hands, feet, and bottoms like her, but in the place of a vagina, only a flat spot?  Rag dolls barely resemble real-life babies, so their missing genitalia isn't an issue for me.  The baby dolls she likes, though, are of the plastic, extremely lifelike variety, and I don't want my daughter thinking there is something wrong with her because she has a vagina rather than smooth plastic in her diaper.

An argument against anatomically correct baby dolls is that it would make kids prematurely interested in genitals, and cause exploration.  I think we can all agree that this happens with or without dolls, and maybe exploration with one another would be less important if children could answer those questions by looking at their dolls.  

Another thought - what about siblings?  When we have another baby, I bet he or she will have genitals.  Would the "progressive and understanding" women who are so against anatomically correct dolls consider a new baby to "...numb [our children] to the sacred nature  of our bodies," or see the new baby as "...adding to the pile of [nudity]?"  Then why on earth would a doll?

I'll have to finish this when I have more time, but please post if you have any ideas that can enlighten me in either direction.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Pancake Recipe for Cold and Flu Season

We are not vaccinating. Yikes. Instead, we are opting for preventative measures. We swab her nose (and mine) once a day with saline and aloe solution. We also give her a children's formula sambucus (elderberry extract) which contains echinacea and astragulus. The sambucus is liquid, and tastes really good, but Isla won't take it in water as suggested. I had to get creative. I do things like pour it on her pancakes as syrup.

The pancakes are fantastic, and our whole family loves them:

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
dollop (about 2 or 3 tablespoons?) molasses
enough milk, soy milk or water to make it the right consistency

Mix above ingredients. Cook on a hot skillet. Flip once. I eat mine with butter and sometimes syrup; Isla has hers with sambucus and kids liquid vitamin drizzled on top.

*Obviously check with your doctor before using any supplements.

Nature Baby on Etsy

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kid Friendly Eats

Isla is now at the age (14 mos.) where she will not just hang out in my lap or a highchair while I eat. She runs laps around the legs of waiters and tries to find steps to leap off of, head first. Fortunately, we have a couple of great kid-friendly options on Santa Claus Lane: the Garden Market and Padaro Beach Grill.

Padaro opens at 11 and serves lunch and dinner outside on a huge lawn. They are totally kid-proof, with a fence around the property, and even have a huge sandbox with toys. The food is so-so at best, and expensive for what it is, but it is absolutely worth every penny to eat lunch or dinner in peace while your kid has the time of her life.

The Garden Market has incredible food. It's my favorite lunch spot, and although it does not offer a sand box or rolling hills of well-trimmed grass, there are fountains everywhere and shady outdoor seating, which was enough to entertain Isla for about an hour today when we met her godmother for lunch. If someone could combine the two it would be perfection.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Little Sapling Toys

Little Sapling Toys makes the coolest takes on traditional teethers, cars, stacking toys, and rocking horses. Teethers come in fun designs like triceratops and hedgehog, and they make an organic rocking unicorn.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cool Kids Clothes

Hands down the cutest baby pants for boys or girls. They're handmade and available here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cool Kids' Room Decor

I don't know why all the murals for babies' rooms are so "precious."  I'm not into it.  Besides the vintage-looking photos I posted earlier, I also love these posters from the Ashes and Snow exhibit, for either a boy's or girl's room.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Design Your Own Baby Shoes

The coolest shoes I've seen are French, and totally vegan. Canvas ballerinas and slip-on tennies by Ben Simon are available here.

If you buy leather shoes for your baby, there are other options besides Robeez. At you can design your own, right down to the color(s) and style. There is also an option to personalize with your child's name and/or a decal.

For girls, my favorite shoes are the Baby Bloch ballerina slippers. Somewhat hard to find online, Garnet Hill seems to have the most in stock.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Healthy and Easy Mac and Cheese

There is no doubt what my daughter's favorite food is; she likes mac and cheese better than anything else she's tried.  So, rather than fight it, I'm trying to work it.  Tonight, I made her favorite with a twist.  It ended up looking very green, but she scarfed it down like she hadn't eaten in a week.


Annie's Organic Deluxe Mac and Cheese made with whole wheat shells
Flax seed or Omega 3 oil
Nutritional yeast
A few leaves of kale, stemmed and chopped up in the food processor

First, prepare the mac and cheese as directed.  Then, drizzle flax seed oil on top, along with some nutritional yeast.  To top it all off, put 2 or 3 tablespoons of chopped up kale (chopped in the food processor) on the top.  (This amount was for Isla's tiny-sized serving.  Adjust the amount of kale to taste, and stir the rest of the kale in with the leftover pasta to eat yourself.)  

Banana-Kale Muffins

Inspired by my visit to the Little Woods Pre-School Food Fair, and the muffins we tried there, I made up a new recipe this evening to sneak some healthy into yummy foods for my husband and daughter.  Actually, "sneak" isn't a good word, because I'm trying to encourage Isla to like foods like kale by preparing them in a way that's kid-friendly.  These muffins taste like dessert, but are a much healthier option:


one bunch organic kale
three or four small organic carrots
three very ripe organic bananas
one cup organic whole wheat flour
one tablespoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
big dollop of organic plain yogurt
one free-range organic egg
sesame seeds (1/4 cup or so)
one tablespoon baking soda
one tablespoon baking powder
one dollop organic honey
1/4 cup or so organic canola oil

pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
in a food processor, chop up the bunch of kale (after removing stems), the carrots, and the banana.  
put all three in a large bowl
dump in the other ingredients
mix by hand until blended
drop in greased cupcake pans (I use the mini kind)
bake until done - approx 10-14 minutes

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fall Sweaters

Looking for a new favorite sweater for your little one? My top two sources are Craft Junkie Creations and The Anecdotes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Natural Toy Obsessions

MamaKopp makes the coolest wooden toys and puzzles.  Isla loves to play with her "Troll-in-a-Rainbow" puzzle, and my new obsessions are the Serendipity, Pregnant Mama, and Lovebirds (pictured).  More puzzles and toys including Centaurs, Moomintrolls, and Beasties are available here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Birthday Crowns

I am all for birthdays. Mine lasts all week. I plan on making crowns for Isla and myself for birthdays and just playtime. Etsy is a great resource if you're in the market to buy one, or looking for a pattern. Try njsisson, cozyblue and SusannaW.

SB Natural Mama Goes to SD

While I've called Santa Barbara my home for over 22 years, I'm originally from La Jolla and feel very connected to my birthplace. Also, Isla's PopPop (my dad!) still lives in Del Mar, so we're down South quite a bit. On our most recent visit, I took some mental notes, since it is actually the perfect road trip for an SB mama and her family to take.

We usually take the train down since Isla is not too keen on the car seat for extended periods of time. It is an easy and beautiful commute, and takes less than 5 hours to our stop at Solana Beach (and just a bit more if you're headed all the way to downtown San Diego.) The most recent trip we took was for Isla's birthday, and we took her to Sea World for the first time. While I'm generally very conflicted about zoos and animal parks, I feel pretty good about Sea World. The animals seem well cared-for and happy, and most importantly I feel it instills a love of the ocean and it's creatures in all who visit. The connection children and adults make when they see the whales and other sea life up close ostensibly contributes to the percentage of visitors who go on to help protect and preserve these animals and their environments. That said, Isla's favorite exhibit was the beluga whales, although she was ridiculously entertained the entire 4 hours of our visit. We barely covered 1/3 of the park, and are planning our next trip for September.

Click here for an amazing story of a hero-beluga whale.

Even if the main focus of your trip is to visit Sea World (or the San Diego Wild Animal Park, or Zoo), I highly recommend a pit stop in North County. Just ever so slightly North of Solana Beach is Encinitas, home of The Magical Child - one of the best natural baby and kids stores I've seen. Expect to find Waldorf dolls, amazing CDs and books, fairie dress-up, safe and natural toys, organic clothing, cloth diapers, organic toiletries, etc., and a great play area for your little one. I make a trip here every time I'm in the area. As for restaurants, the Pannikin is a daily must for my family. It's the best coffee house I've ever tried. The ambiance is so cool, and different at each of the three locations (La Jolla, Encinitas, Solana Beach), and the food and coffee is amazing.

The beaches in San Diego are incredible, and the water is so warm. There are plenty of great spots, but my favorite is Windansea in La Jolla. If you're planning on taking your little one in the water, though, I'd skip this one - while an older child would have a blast, the shore break is not suitable for young kids.

**I want to add that my feelings about Sea World - and other sea parks - are extremely ambivalent. The Shamu show was one part cool, to three parts sad. The giant, intelligent, amazing wild animals were in such a tiny, artificial environment. While I do feel sea parks are important in keeping people connected with whales and dolphins enough that they would fight for their welfare (i.e. trying to stop the mass-slaughtering of both in Japan!), I feel just as strongly that something needs to be done to protect the animals in these parks. Better, larger tanks that better simulate their natural environment, and breeding animals specifically for the parks rather than poaching them from their home in the ocean would be a start.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Magical Portraits

I am absolutely in love with these magical portraits by Dream Touch. You just send them a photo of your child and choose from all of the different backgrounds. This fairyland scene is my favorite.

Sample Baby Registry for the Natural Mama

Knowing now what I didn't know then, this would be my registry for our first baby:

I. Gear:
1. Graco Snugride infant carseat
2. Britax Marathon convertible carseat
3. 2 strollers - one lightweight umbrella stroller (we have a Maclaren, which is on sale now,) and one sturdier stroller that can accommodate an infant (we have the Bumbleride Indie, which you can clip your carseat right in to.)
4. Don't get a swing right away - your baby might not like it. Instead, wait until Baby is born and a few weeks old, and test it out at a friend's or a store. Same goes for the exersaucers.
5. The moby wrap.
6. The Ergo Baby.

II. Sleeping:
1. Co-sleepers ended up not getting used. The babies in our mamatoto group for the most part all ended up sharing the bed with their parents. If you decide to go that route, though, you can find a used one on Craigslist. Cribs were also seldom used. Instead, a toddler bed on the ground ended up being our best and safest option for naps.
2. Organic crib mattress and organic crib mattress pad for the toddler bed.
3. Bed rail for the family bed if Baby will be sharing the bed with you.
4. Organic crib sheets - two fitted (and two sets for your own bed).

III. Layette:
1. 8 organic cotton or secondhand 100% cotton receiving blankets.
2. 2 muslin gauze blankets (I love Aden & Anais) for swaddling, shade over the stroller, lightweight warmth, clean place to sit at the park, etc.
3. At least a dozen organic cotton burp cloths. I like the Gerber cloth diapers for this purpose - extremely soft, inexpensive, organic...
4. 6 organic cotton or secondhand 100% cotton onesies, 2 longsleeve tees, 2 pairs of cotton jersey pants, 4-6 pj suits, 6 pairs of organic cotton socks, 1 or 2 cozy cotton sweaters, 2 pairs of BabyLegs. (The rest I'd wait on, since you'll receive tons of outfits as gifts.)

IV. Diapering:
1. Some disposables to start out - either Seventh Generation or Tushies: 1 pack newborn and 2 or 3 packs of size 1.
2. Cloth diapering system, including pail and sprayer. I'd suggest pocket diapers, and either FuzziBunz, Happy Heinys, Bum Genius 3.0, or something similar. One dozen to start with, and you can always buy more. Alternately, you can try the G Diapers with cloth inserts and the flushable inserts for travel, but remember not to use the flushable inserts until Baby has started on solid foods or you'll have a mess on your hands.
3. Hemp Inserts. These are so trim and absorbent, and it's nice to have a few extra inserts on hand.
4. Cloth wipes and diaper area spray. In addition to being better for the environment, you'll save a ridiculous amount of money using cloth wipes. We use California Baby Non-Burning and Calming Diaper Area Wash. We dilute it and one bottle lasted us almost the entire first year. Or, you could do what my friend Heather does and fill up a thermos with warm water in the morning to use throughout the day.
5. A couple of wet bags to toss wet diapers in when you're out and about.

V. Feeding Baby:
1. Breast Pump. I started with the medela swing, but ended up passing it on to a friend. I ended up much happier with my hand pump: the Avent manual pump. It comes with two bottles, is easy to assemble and operate, and totally BPA free.
2. One or two bottles. Born Free makes a good one, and so does Green to Grow.
3. Boppy. You can find one pre-owned at the Traveling Pants and put a new organic cover on it.
4. Nursing bra. Getting the right size is tricky. I needed one size bigger around the ribs and two cup sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy size.
5. Organic cotton breast pads.
These others you could register for, or wait until Babyis closer to 6 months old before buying:
6. Snacktrap (2)
7. Mesh feeder (1 with extra bags)
8. Sippy cups (3-4)
9. Baby Spoons and bowls (We like the wooden sets from
10. Bamboo or organic cotton bibs - my favorite option is at Summer for Kids (6)
11. Baby food mill
12. High chair. Ours is a pre-owned wooden one that cost us $30 and works fabulously. No need to splurge on a Svan unless you really want to.

VI. Bath and Potty:
2. Washcloths (4) and hooded towels (2). Bumkins is great.
3. Baby shampoo/bodywash, lotion, diaper ointment, and sunscreen. Try California Baby.
4. Comb. (You will need this if your baby gets cradle cap. Just massage her scalp with olive oil and let it sit for a few minutes. Exfoliate with the comb and wash Baby's head as usual. Do not use Head and Shoulders or a similar product - it will burn Baby's head!)
5. Baby nail clippers. (These will be in a first aid kit if you get one.)
6. Thermometer.
7. Humidifier.
8. Baby Tylenol (the kind without the dye).
9. Hyland's homeopathic teething drops.

VII. Safety:
1. Outlet covers.
2. Monitor

VIII. Furniture:
1. Glider chair. (Ours is from Craigslist.)
2. Changing table. (Also from Craigslist.)
3. Changing table pad and organic changing table pad covers.

Lastly, where to register?
I got nearly all of our diapering essentials, plus a few other things from, and gear from For the rest, I registered at a site like, where you can choose from lots of different sites and the registry is all in one spot. has a lot of great gear at the best price, and is good as a checklist for the natural mama. and have the best natural toy selection (besides etsy), and don't forget to register at a physical store. Summer for Kids has a huge selection of organic toys, clothing and bedding, as well as all of the feeding essentials, and is totally organic and natural. Chicken Little is also a good source. While definitely not entirely organic, it does have the best range of products from strollers to clothing, breast pumps, highchairs, etc.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Apple Cheeks

I recently heard about Apple Cheeks cloth diapers, and was romanced by promises of the trim fit.  We've been testing them out for a couple of weeks now, and the results are in:
1. They are made in Canada, come in cute colors, and have snaps - a plus as far as I'm concerned.
2. They are not that trim.  At least not if you use their inserts.  Compared to the other diapers we've tried, they are comparable to the Happy Heinys, bulkier than the Bum Genious, 3.0, and much bulkier than the G Diapers.  If you use a Fuzzi Bunz hemp insert, they are pretty trim.
3. It is a little harder for me to tell when my daughter's diapers are wet.  With the other pocket diapers, I just stick my hand in the pocket (which is in the very back) to see if the insert is wet.  The Apple Cheeks opens in the middle of the diaper, so it makes it more difficult to do a quick-check.  Per my friend Amrita's advise, I do the smell test to see if there's pee.
4. The fit is great.  I attribute this to the two-size system they have.  One size pocket diapers are extremely bulky on the little ones, and the elastic at the leg holes isn't ideal once the babies are bigger.
5. They are a bit more expensive, and also do not come with free inserts.
Overall rating B+/A-

What's a Natural Mama to Do?

There are so many things to do in Santa Barbara with babies, but a few of my favorites are yoga, bike rides, and the "Butterflies Alive!" exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.  

We take yoga classes with Emma, at SBYC, and also with Dani at Yoga Soup.  See earlier posts for more info on these.

For bike rides, we have a sturdy baby/toddler seat that attaches to the back of my husband's bike, and a tiny helmet we found at the thrift store.  Isla LOVES bike rides, and it's the best way to get her to take a nap.  We park at the estuary by Stella Mare's and take the bikes down the trail and all over downtown.  Today we parked at the pier at Goleta Beach and took the bike trail through UCSB and around IV.  We love bike rides for the outdoor time and the workout, but the best part about it is that we get fun family time all together.                                                                 **Isla's adorable kimono sweater is available at Craft Junkie Creations, and is easily my favorite piece of clothing she owns.

The "Butterflies Alive!" exhibit is so much fun for kids and babies, and is best when it's sunny outside.  I really would like to live in this place - butterflies were literally everywhere.  Isla was fascinated and entertained the entire time, and surprisingly not frustrated at not being able to hold one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Thrifty Natural Mama

Some would love to be natural mamas, but are short on cash.  It's a popular mis-conception that it costs more to be natural.  Yes, organic food and clothing do cost more... sometimes.  Not if you're buying some of the clothing secondhand and sticking with what you really need, and not if you're growing some of the food, and cutting back on the portions of meat.  And, with the extra $4000 you save using cloth diapers over disposables (way more than that if you use cloth wipes like we do!), you'll probably come out ahead.

I like buying clothes for myself and Isla from secondhand stores.  It's much greener than buying new, (less waste, less pollution from production), and you can get really nice labels and fabrics for less than the brand new, cheaply-made polyester type at Target or Old Navy.  For myself I like swap meets, thrift stores and yard sales, as well as Twice as Nice and The Closet; for Isla The Traveling Pants and Polar Bear.  And saving money buying secondhand makes me feel a lot less guilty when I have to splurge on a nice organic mattress or really want to buy a cool but pricey outfit for Isla.

I love buying antiques, for the same reasons I buy secondhand clothes.  Santa Barbara County is full of antiques stores, especially in Summerland and Carpinteria.

We're getting rid of our water-guzzling front lawn in favor of fruit trees, and the vegetable garden in the back keeps getting bigger.  I used to buy our organic produce at farmer's market and Lazy Acres, which was delicious but pricey.  Our garden saves us so much money, and Isla has fun crawling in it to find and eat the strawberries.  The excess water from the washer waters the backyard.  (I'm planning a future post on greywater, and setting up a system at your home will save tons of money and water.)

If you're a meat-eater, buying grass-fed, free-range meat is really important for your health and the planet.  It's also more expensive.  But if we can change our ideas about what a portion of meat looks like, (or serve it as a side dish, rather than the main) and not necessarily eat it every day, than you will be spending much less money in the end, and have a healthier diet.

Natural cleaning products are really important.  The toxins in conventional cleaning products are really scary, and harmful to you, your baby, and the environment.  There are great natural options available at the supermarket and online, but if you buy vinegar and baking soda (in bulk, even, to save more money and packaging) and a few lemons, you can make your own natural cleaning products, which are really effective and practically free.  

Natural toys also seem to be more expensive, but again I've found that not to be the case.  Isla plays with her natural wood and woolen toys a lot longer than the noisy plastic versions, and we don't need to buy as many toys as we think.  At the top of Isla's list right now: playsilks - for playing peek-a-boo, wearing like a scarf, and taking in and out of her purse.  See earlier posts for more good deals on beautiful, naturally-made toys that will grow with your child.

Peaceful Clothing

I'm into this clothing company called Be Love. 10% of all their sales go to help teach peace, nonviolence, and conflict resolution. Their clothes are organic and sweatshop-free, and feature images of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. They come in sizes 3-6 mos - adult and are available online, or you can purchase locally at Rincon Designs in Carpinteria.

What Up with G Diapers

I've been test driving G Diapers for a while now, and here's my final opinion:
1. They're so cute.  And really "trim" compared to my other cloth diapers, comparable to a disposeable.
2. They are virtually leak proof - yay!
3. Do NOT use them during baby's first few weeks.  I've heard from every friend who did - the messy poops go everywhere.  Wait until they're on solid foods before trying these diapers out, unless you use the cloth inserts.
4. 3 Covers, 5 liners, and one package of inserts lasted my entire 4 day (50 hours of which was on the train!) trip.  Just as convenient as disposables, but less leaks.
5. Velcro starting to get less "sticky" at the edges.  (I saw one baby in our yoga class pull hers off...)
6. As with any diaper cover, make sure you use natural fiber inserts or pre-folds.  I like the hemp the best, since it holds the most liquid and is also the trimmest.  If you use a microfiber insert (which came free with our pocket dipes), use it with a hemp doubler or a cloth wipe over it so that the natural hemp is against Baby's skin rather than the microfiber.
7. To sum it all up: these diapers are perfect to use when traveling, and when your little one needs to squeeze into her bootcut jeans, but like the bum genius 3.0,  the velcro may be shot after a while if you use them 24/7.  

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meg Fish Potography at Mama Baby Yoga

 A picture is worth a thousand words, and we were lucky to have Meg Fish pay us a visit in mom and baby yoga class last week.  Here, actual proof of mamas doing yoga and babies having fun.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Greenest Baby Stores

An even greener option than buying organic is buying secondhand.  We buy a lot of Isla's clothes from The Traveling Pants in Carpinteria.  It's the same idea as Polar Bear in Santa Barbara, but has a completely different feel - more like a boutique than a secondhand store.  I found blankets from This Little Piggy and Fattamano for $4.99 each when I was pregnant!  You'll also find things like slings and other baby carriers, adorable clothes from designer to old navy, handmade clothing, toys, and books.

If you have items your little one has outgrown, you can bring them to either Polar Bear or Traveling Pants and get cash for them.  If you plan on taking them to Polar Bear, you'll need to call them on the first of the month to book your appointment.  Plan on calling early because the phone lines get busy.  Once you schedule your appointment, you'll just drop off your bag of clothing and come back in a couple of days to pick up any items they don't want along with your check.  If you're taking them to The Traveling Pants you don't need an appointment.  They accept bags of clothes the first week of every month.  The bummer about both is that you don't see how much you're getting for each item.  You're just handed back your bag with a few unwanted items in the bottom, and a check for what they've taken.  If you have really nice things it might be worth it to ask first before dropping them off.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Favorite Learning Toys

These felt letters are bright and fun, and feel so good in my hands.  Isla loves to play with them and throw handfuls up in the air, although I have to watch her closely so they don't get eaten.  I bought a set to use when she's a little older so she'll be familiar with the letters of the alphabet, and they'll be great for forming words when she's learning to read.  I'm betting we'll be using these all the time in the years to come. 

Feeding Baby

Since she started eating "solids" at six months, Isla has always eaten her meals with my husband and me, and usually we all eat the same thing. Her first food was avocado, so I sat her in her kiwi bebepod and fed her the fruit, smooshed up with breast milk, while I ate some myself. As she got older we would sit down for breakfast together and eat joes o's or oatmeal with bananas and milk (mine from cows and hers from me). We prepare meals for ourselves which she can also eat. When she was younger we would grind up some of our dinner for her in a food mill, and once she got a little older we just cut or tore the food into little pieces and arranged them on the tray of her highchair.

The thought process behind our feeding style is this: 1. We are hoping that by always eating with her she will be used to sitting down for family meals as a family. 2. By feeding her what we are eating we hope to curb any expectations of a separate "kid" meal. Growing up I remember my mom always making two dinners so my little sister would eat. We'd like Isla to eat a variety of things, rather than getting mac and cheese for dinner every night. 3. This way, Isla gets fresh food prepared right before eating (or leftovers for lunch the day after), and nutrients are not lost reheating frozen food cubes. 4. I would rather spend the time playing with her than preparing elaborate, separate "baby" meals, and she really would not tolerate having to be on the floor or in her highchair (as opposed to my arms) for as long as it would take to do that.

*...not to claim my method is necessarily the best for your family. All of my friends have a different style of feeding Baby that works for them and their little ones, and this is just the style that works for us.

Good sites for feeding baby: was discovered by my friend Amber, and I kind of don't know what I would have done without it. There are tips on feeding, tons of recipes, and timelines for when to feed baby what.

Good books for feeding baby: Superfoods: for Babies and Children, by Annabel Karmel; Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron. **We didn't really use any books for feeding Isla. Rather than "recipes," we gave her whole foods (ground up) one at a time, and checked online at for the safe time to introduce each one. These are books my friends like and use.

Feeding Baby World Peace

Isla is almost ready for her own plate. I only say almost because I am not especially into constantly picking up plate and food off of the ground. But when she and I are ready, I plan on using these earth friendly, BPA free plates by smiling planet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Baby Carriers

The benefits of babywearing include a decrease in crying, and an increase in attachment, emotional learning, and most probably peaceful societies.  I loved that I could soothe my baby while getting the dishes done, dinner made, eating lunch with friends, walking on the beach, etc.  I couldn't imagine leaving Isla in her carseat "carrier" and hardly touching her all day long like so many moms do all over our country.  Babies need to be held and touched, and slings and other babywearing devices make that possible while enabling mamas to use both of their hands to do other things.  

We didn't know what baby carrier we would need, and in the end we (basically) tried them all.  The two that looked to be the easiest were the sling and the BabyBjorn, but I found that not to be the case.  Although she loved her sling in the beginning, it was difficult to position her in a way that didn't make her look like she was about to snap in half or fall out.  Also she tipped the scales at 9 lbs. at birth, so she quickly outgrew her sling.  We often stuffed her into an organic newborn insert and then into the Ergo, and that worked out fine, but my favorite carrier for the earlier months was the Moby wrap.  It worked because I could carry her facing in, facing out, or sling-style, and she strongly preferred one style over the other two at any given point in her development.  It was really soft, and breathable, and easy to throw it on quickly.  Also, my husband could use it without any adjustments.  As she has gotten older,  I've stopped using the Moby at all, and just use the Ergo.  We both love it, and Isla likes riding in it on the front as well as on my back.

Had I known then what I know now I would have bought both the Moby and the Ergo, and skipped the sling and the Bjorn.

Favorite Yoga Clothes


We love mom and baby yoga and love getting dressed up for it in comfy separates for mamas and babies.  These baby yoga pants are handmade from upcycled t-shirts, and cost only $8!  The lotus flower onsies are hand-dyed and batiked and go perfectly with the adult tees.  *yoga photo of Emma and Olivia by Meg Fish.