Tag Archives: baby

Nursery Trend: Yellow and Gray

**I’m going green today and recycling a post I wrote last October. This may be an oldie but it’s a goodie! Hope all my fellow East Coasters are safe and dry. We were lucky never to have lost power and, other than some trees down, to escape Sandy’s wrath.**

This color combo is really fresh and modern for nurseries or big kid rooms. You can accent with girly ruffles or clean lined-giraffes to make the room perfect for a girl or a boy, which makes this an ideal palette for surprise deliveries. Here are some of my favorite yellow and gray nurseries I’ve come across:

Photo via www.rhoneydesign.com

Photo via www.rhoneydesign.com

Photo via madebygirl.blogspot.com

Photo via realhousewivesofbc.blogspot.com

Photo via thedomesticwannabe.blogspot.com

Photo via littleelephantstitchery.com

Embroidery hoops with fabric via littleelephantstitchery.com

Photo from taliaaudenart.blogspot.com

Available on Etsy @gusandlula ($16)

Nursery Trend: Hedgehog Wild

Last year was the year of the owl. This year, make way for the. . . hedgehog? Strange but true: these little guys are popping up everywhere! Here are a few of the cutest ways I found to work hedgehogs into your little one’s nursery:

Wall Decals, Etsy shop: Graphic Spaces, $15

Hedgehog Print, Etsy shop: Barking Bird Art, $18

Bookend, Etsy shop: Graphic Spaces, $48

Fleece Blanket, Bed-e-Byes, £19.99

Clock, Land of Nod, $68

Mamas and Papas Rocker, $129.99

Nightlight, Etsy shop: You Know, $22

Heidi Klum’s New Line for BRU

Heidi Klum’s new line, Truly Scrumptious, will hit stores on September 15th and will include everything from clothing to bedding to strollers. The first adjective that popped in my head when I saw the collection was “colorful.” My next thought was, thank goodness this is a children’s line that actually looks like it should be worn by children. I can’t stand those outfits that make toddlers look like they’re two going on 17!

This new collection is appropriately playful and whimsical, and you can tell it’s designed by a mom with young kids—everything is made to mix and match!

Here are a few of my favorite looks, but you can click here and sign in with Facebook for a sneak peek of the entire collection.


Team USA: Show Your Colors!

I love the Olympics! The competition, the tradition, the ceremony. . . speaking of ceremony, how awesome was the Opening Ceremony?! I thought Danny Boyle did a fantastic job, and hats off to the costume designer/team because they had their hands full and delivered beautifully.

The second most entertaining part of the evening was the commentary from Bob Costas and Matt Lauer during the Parade of Nations. My husband and I considered making a drinking game out of how many backhanded complements and digs they gave the other countries as they walked in, but I wasn’t sure we had enough alcohol in the house to finish such a game, haha.

The whole “made in China” controversy aside, I liked Team USA’s uniforms. They were certainly very Ralph Lauren, but I appreciated the sharpness and formality of them—it matched the occasion. While we can’t all wear the official Team USA uniform, we can still show our USA pride, and where better to start than with the littlest Americans?! Here are some adorable ways to support Team USA during the 2012 Olympics (and bonus, many of them are on sale since the games have officially kicked off!).

Team USA Polo Romper, $30

The Children's Place Team USA Graphic Tee, $2.99

Ralph Lauren Olympic Polo Dress, $69.50

Team USA Onesie, $15.99

Baby Gap Olympic Vintage Tee, $24.95

JC Penney Distressed Flag Tee, $6

Ralph Lauren USA Ringer Tee, $29.50


HAPPYTOT Giveaway!

You know those light bulb parenting moments when someone introduces you to something that makes your life infinitely easier, and glorious rays of light shine down from the heavens and you can hear angels singing softly in the background?

I had one of those moments when Olivia was about seven or eight months old and my friend Dori whipped out this crazy looking pouch of baby food, twisted off the top, and handed it straight to her son. He immediately took it and started sucking the food out of the little straw at the top. By himself. With NO MESS. I swear I saw my future flash before me, and it was amazing.

From that day on, we have kept our pantry stocked with these little gems. Our favorites are the HAPPYBABY and HAPPYTOT pouches, which are organic, allergy free, and minimally processed. The HAPPYBABY pouches come in three different categories: starting solids (single fruits, like pears), simple combos (like apricot + sweet potato), and balanced meals (like banana + quinoa + black bean + plum).

The HAPPYTOT pouches come in fruit and veggie combos that are great complements to a meal or as a snack on the go. Because Olivia was anemic, we found the Spinach, Mango + Pear pouch a great way to sneak in a little extra iron—plus, she absolutely LOVES them, so they’re always our back-up option when she refuses to eat whatever else we’re having. The HAPPYTOT pouches all include Salba, which is considered nature’s super grain. For added nutrition, you can get Happy Tot Plus—fruit and veggie combos, such as Kale, Apple + Mango, that include both Salba and choline.

We’ve had great luck finding these pouches on sale at Target, but you can also find them at Safeway, Giant, Whole Foods, and tons of other places.

Because I am obsessed with these pouches, the kind folks at HAPPYBABY have offered to send one lucky winner an entire case of the HAPPYTOT pouches! Be sure to enter below.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post or giveaway, nor did I receive any free products for my family. I am running this giveaway because I seriously love these easy, on-the-go pouches, and I love my readers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Summertime Blues

Make sure your little one is feeling blue this summer in a good way!

1. Finally, ballet flats for toddlers that have a prayer of staying on! Joe Fresh Ballet Flats, $14
2. Zara Boys’ Fine Stripe Trousers, $25.90
3. J. Crew Girls’ Folly Dress, $48
4. Pumpkin Patch Dungaree with Bow, $24.50
5. So cute and preppy—Ralph Lauren Bal Harbour Slip-On, $28
6. Ruffles AND nautical stripes. Hanna Andersson Little Star Two-Piece, $28
7. Zutano Crab Polo Shirt, $30
8. Tea Collection Boys’ Roll-Up Safari Shirt, $36
9. I love this little umbrella! Hatley Blue Whales Umbrella, $20

Is Your Child’s Speech Normal? What to Watch Out For

I am thrilled to welcome our very first guest blogger, Shannon! As one of my best friends and an expert in speech development (she holds a Master’s in Speech Pathology and works with both adults and children), Shannon was always my go-to when I had questions about Olivia’s language skills and development. When I asked her if she would be willing to share some of her tips and information with my readers, she was more than happy to! Here is the first of her two-part post about speech and language development in toddlers.

As a practicing speech-language pathologist and mother of a 14-month-old boy, I am often asked about typical language development from friends and family members.  Speech and language development is more complex and abstract than physical development and, therefore, harder for parents to track.  For example, it is obvious to  parents if their child is or is not walking, but it is not so obvious if their child’s language is normal.  This post will answer some basic questions about speech and language development. My next post will provide suggestions to allow you to facilitate speech and language development for your child.

What is considered normal language development? Speech and language development varies widely from one child to the next.  On average, a child’s first word will come around 12 months of age but may come later if the child is more interested in motor skills than speech and language.  Children either walk or talk first, and it is very rare that these skills coincide.  It is too much for the brain to process walking and talking simultaneously at the beginning.  If a child begins walking early or right around 12 months, he might not say his first word until 13 or 14 months.  Once children say their first word, language development should progress rapidly. Your child should have at least 50 words by age 2.  If your child does not have 50 words by her 2nd birthday, she is considered to have a language delay. Some children that are delayed in language will catch up independently.  Others may require formal speech-language intervention.

Why can’t I understand my child? It is often very difficult to understand a one-year-old’s speech. Many sounds in the English language do not develop until ages 2-5.  For example, /r/ and /th/ are sounds that develop later and should not be expected until at least age 4 or 5. Other later-developing sounds include /s/, /z/, and /l/.  It is very normal for a child who is learning to talk to simplify words and make sound substitutions or deletions.  For example, my son says “ight” for light and “doodie” for cookie. He is deleting the more difficult consonant (the /l/ in light) and substituting an easier consonant for a more difficult consonant (saying /d/ for /k/ in cookie).   If your child is 2 years old, an unfamiliar listener should be able to understand 50% of her speech.  An unfamiliar listener should be able to understand a 3-year-old child 75% of the time, and a 4-year-old should be understood greater than 90% of the time.

When should I be concerned?  A speech-language evaluation is recommended for the following issues:

  1. If you are concerned about your child’s ability to understand language.  Receptive language is very important and is a key indicator to determine if a child will catch up or need speech-language intervention.  If your child is not talking and you are concerned about their ability to understand you, it is recommended that you talk to your pediatrician.
  2. If your child is 18 months old and not yet talking.  Some children do not talk until after 18 months and catch up independently.  However, if your child is still not talking at 18 months of age, bring it up to your pediatrician to see if he needs a speech-language evaluation.
  3. If your child is 12 months old and is not yet babbling.
  4. If your child is age 2+ and is talking but is not forming phrases/sentences appropriately compared to her peers.
  5. If your child is age 2+ and you feel that he is significantly less intelligible than his peers or if many people comment that they cannot understand your child.  If you are the only person that can understand your child, talk to your pediatrician about the need for a speech-language evaluation.
  6. If there is any concern about social/pragmatic language.  Children must learn the social rules of language and how to interact with their peers appropriately. Learning the social rules of language develops over time.  Major red flags include lack of eye contact and inability to respond to and initiate greetings appropriately.
  7. If your child is stuttering.  Stuttering can be a normal part of speech-language development, particularly between ages 2 and 4.  However, if stuttering becomes effortful, frequent, or if your child is aware of and/or upset by their stuttering, then a speech-language evaluation is recommended.

What are some online resources to help?

Resources for parents include: 

The American Speech Language Association Public Website

National Institutes of Health  http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/speechandlanguage.aspx

Kids Health

Leg Warmers for Babies and Toddlers

Republishing an older post since today is perfect leg warmer weather. It was 55° this morning when we left the house, but it’s supposed to get up to 85°! My daughter’s leg warmers kept her warm and toasty under her skirt this morning and can come off in a jiff as the day heats up!


Ahhhh, leg warmers. . . they bring me back to my “Get In Shape Girl” days of getting up at 6 a.m. to do Mousercise on the Disney channel. I’m not kidding—I would get in full workout gear (headband, leotard-with belt, tights,blue legwarmers) and go all “Jane Fonda” in the living room. I am sure that, somewhere, there even exists a very embarrassing video of me doing a rhythmic gymnastic ribbon routine or something equally hilarious. But I digress. . .

Leg warmers are back! Don’t go rush out and get some for your next trip to the gym (they’re not that back). But they have been given a new lease on life in the world of baby and children’s fashion. They are perfect for crawlers and for those days when it’s chilly in the morning and warm in the afternoon. You can also extend your child’s summer clothes by pairing them with a romper, skirt or even on their arms under a t-shirt. I love the super soft ones from BabyLegs! There are tons of patterns, and they aren’t too expensive at around $12 a pair.

Safety Tips for Children and Pets

Bringing a new baby home to meet your first “baby” or introducing a new pet into your family can be really stressful and, if you’re not careful, dangerous. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips for keeping things safe for both your children and your pets.

1. Keep pet toys and children’s toys separate. You don’t want your toddler playing with a slobbery dog toy anymore than you want your pet choking on a Lego®. Aside from those obvious facts, keeping the toys separate will avoid any territorial conflicts—for both parties.

2. Make sure your pet has a “time out” spot, and teach your children that the space is off limits to allow your pet to get away and de-stress if needed.

3. Teach your child the warning signs of an aggressive animal (growling/hissing, fur standing on end, forward posture, sharp movements, showing teeth, etc.) and to back away slowly (and quietly) if they notice any of this behavior.

4. Never leave your baby, toddler or child alone with a pet unsupervised. This may seem obvious, but even previously “harmless” dogs have been known to snap from time to time.

5. Protect your pet as well as your child. Toddlers are especially notorious for not knowing their own strength, and they are testing their limits by hitting, stomping (yes, stomping, my daughter goes for our dog’s feet mostly), and pulling (usually ears and tails).

6. “Let sleeping dogs lie” . . . and cats and whatever else you have in your menagerie. The same goes while pets are eating or caring for their own babies.

7. If you’re introducing a new baby, give your pet a blanket with the baby’s scent on it so they can become accustomed to the new smell.

8. Don’t assume all pets are as kid-friendly as your own—a lesson my brother learned the hard way at the age of two, and he still has the scar on his lip to prove it.

9. Teach your pet basic commands (sit, stay, down, etc.) and enforce them or, better yet, enroll your pet in a training class.

10. Follow the 3 S’s when introducing  a new baby to your pet:  Sniff—Sit—Supervise. Allow your pet to sniff around and get used to the new smells (aka your baby); let your pet sit calmly with you and the baby; always supervise your pet and your baby.


Finn’s Classic Cottontail Nursery

Note:  When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was obsessed with designing her nursery, and I looked everywhere for inspiration. But I didn’t want to only look at over-the-top designer nurseries that were both unrealistic and out of reach. I wanted to see real nurseries, put together by real people on a real budget.

In an effort to pay it forward to other mamas, I will occasionally spotlight nurseries and children’s rooms that I think are inspiring. I will try to include as much detail and shopping information as possible so that, if you like something, you can actually make it happen. If you think your nursery/room would be worth featuring, shoot me an e-mail (amber@mom-machine.com) and let me know!

My friend, Shannon, has really good taste and her house always looks so put together, so it’s no surprise that her son’s nursery is just, well, perfect.  “I wanted a classic, vintage nursery that was personalized [for him]. . . Finn is such a classic Irish name and I wanted a nursery that spoke to that,” Shannon explained. She was inspired by the Kate Greenway vintage nursery rhyme pictures that now hang above the dresser. “For some reason, the boy in the two pictures looked like a ‘Finn’ to me,” she said. Shannon chose classic, traditional furniture and added vintage and sentimental touches throughout, including her own baby shoes and a handmade banner from a friend, to complete the room.

Nursery Details:

Pictures above dresser: Kate Greenaway vintage nursery rhyme pictures from art.com, custom framed at Michael’s
Paint colors:  Bottom Accessible BeigeTop Honest Blue, both by Sherwin Williams
Bedding: Carousel Designs Little Bunny Cottontail Toile Crib Sheet
Curtains: Specially made using the Cottontail Blue Toile fabric from Carousel Designs
Recliner: Best Chairs TRYP Recliner
Changing table and crib: Ragazzi Pompei Collection in Espresso
Picture frames on wall: From Pomella and Rose Furnishings in Bel Air, MD
Vintage toys: From Pomella and Rose Furnishings in Bel Air, MD,  originally from Germany
Vintage jack in the box: From Tiny Toes, a baby boutique in Bel Air, MD
Books: Anthropologie (sadly, no longer available)
Shoes: Vintage, Shannon’s baby shoes
Floor lamp: Pottery Barn Kids (model no longer available)
Lamp on dresser: Carousel Designs (model no longer available)
Side table: From Pottery Barn Kids in Espresso
Toys sign above closet: Madison Belle
Blanket on chair: Blanket Lady
Wall monogram:  Three Hip Chicks

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