Round Up – Issue 12 January 2014

Aw poop, I missed December’s Round Up. I will forever underestimate how busy I get in December with work, the site, and that fat Santa asshole taking all the credit for the Lego Hulk Helicarrier Breakout that I tracked down in a blizzard.

No matter! I have some cool stuff to share so here goes:

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This Kiinde Twist was at the ABC Expo and I wanted to tell you about it because it’s so awesome. This feeding system allows you to directly pump from ANY pump into breastmilk storage pouches with leak-proof, twist-locking caps. You can then label, organize, store, warm, and feed from that same pouch – without ever having to transfer the liquid gold from bottles to bags. Collapsible pouches completely eliminate gas from your baby’s meal, and Active Latch nipples are designed to teach natural breastfeeding behaviors that ease the transition between bottle and breast. So smart. The Starter Kit is $40 on Amazon.

 
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You know when you see those brilliant ideas and think “Aw, crap, I needed to start that In January.” Well, here’s one of those great ideas and I’m telling you now.

Take a picture of your baby every month then make a calendar for all grandparents next Christmas. I tried to do this at one point but couldn’t find great pictures of the kids for every month (I would have tons in June and none for March, say). So if you’re out doing something “calendary” you can take a shot and think, “There’s February”.

 

Speaking of pictures, I also found this neat emergency contact magnet from pinholepress. Sure, you can write it all on a piece of paper but I just love the little photo reminder for grandparents, caregivers and, hell, parents for when you panic because your baby stuck a pea up their nose. It’s a nice thing to slap on the fridge or filing cabinet. $4.99

 
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The folks at Otteroo asked me to pop by their booth at the ABC show. I didn’t really understand what the product was so I wanted to swing by.

When I saw what it was, this was my thought process: “What the hell is that?” “Holy shit, you can’t do that to a baby” and finally “That thing is brilliant!” So bear with me here so I can briefly explain it.

It is an inflatable ring that supports your baby’s head in the bath or in a pool. Essentially it keeps their heavy head afloat while they groove out in the water. The woman that makes them had been bringing a similar product back from her trips to Asia for all her pregnant friends and they loved it so much that she decided to improve the design and sell it in North America. If nothing else, check out the video of the baby just kickin’ it in the water – it cracks me up. I don’t think I need to mention that you don’t walk off and leave your baby unattended in water, do I? No, I know you’re too smart for that. You can buy them for $35 on their site and Amazon.

 

After I did the post on the LifeNest a number of people said how they were worried about flat-head syndrome, so I wanted to bring up another product called Tortle. It’s a little beanie that has a support built in to reposition your child’s head so they don’t favor one side and develop a flat spot. Be sure to check out the site but keep your perspective – I watched the video and could feel my panic growing and I don’t even have a baby anymore. Both of my kids were put on their backs to sleep and never developed flat head, so it’s not something that will happen, it’s something that can happen. Just tuck this info in your back pocket and remember it if your baby does start getting a spot. $20 on Amazon – you can also find it at Babies “R” Us and Target.

 
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My husband and I took the boys to see Frozen last week and we all loved it. I tried really hard not to go off on one of my messages-for-girls tangents but it was hard not to because I thought the movie had such a great story.

Its message about sisterhood and whirlwind relationships made me want to tackle every 12-year old girl in the lobby and say, “See, that’s why Twilight is bullshit and your relationship with your sister should be cherished!” but I imagine that would have been frightening for a young girl, so I refrained. I should also mention that this movie passed the Bechdel Test, which should be on your radar if you have kids – especially girls.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

 

Four articles that I thought were just wonderful:

When Your Mother Says She’s Fat: I beautifully written article that reminds us how much it affects our children when we put ourselves down. This is something I need to be mindful of – especially when I put my post Christmas pants on.

Babies Ruin Bodies: Another beautiful article that points out the wonderful things that happen to your body when you have a baby. A nice perspective while we’re bombarded by the “How I Got My Body Back” headlines in the grocer aisles.

How to Name a Baby: It’s written in a tongue-in-cheek style but it makes some really good points. You can also visit the Baby Naming post if you’re in the market for a good name while you’re at it.

I Have the Kid I Used to Judge Other People for Having: This post from Renegade Mothering was so good that I didn’t even laugh because it was so fucking funny-perfect. I want to go for beers with her and her toddler. Is that wrong?

 
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If you haven’t already heard about BabyList’s amazing giveaway – Win the Best Baby Registry Evah – then you need to get in on it. They have a ton of great gear to be won and it’s all going to one lucky person. (I would have dropkicked a nun to win all this stuff when I was pregnant.) It’s only open to U.S. residents so if you live somewhere else and you have an Uncle Bill that lives in Florida, tell him that you’re entering him in a contest and that you’ll take him for a spin in the Stokke stroller if you win. Enter here and win this in my honour, would ya?

 
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Last but not least, I wanted to tell you how it went with the Give a Cluck charity. We raised over $1,800 with the auction so I was able to walk into the YPNFA meeting with 50 Walmart cards, 25 No Frills (grocery store) cards, and 20 Tim Horton’s (coffee shop) cards, to hand out to young parents that may be having a tricky time. 

I also had a GIANT box of cloth diapers from lilhelper that I carried along College Street when it was -20º outside. I grossly underestimated the weight and size of the box, and grossly overestimated my physical fitness. Thankfully, they were having the meeting in U of T’s Faculty of Nursing building so if I had a heart attack and/or my fingers froze off, someone could help me.

All the people representing the agencies were so grateful for the donation. One woman even said, “Oh my God, if I handed one of my clients a $20 Walmart card right now they would just die!”

I did a little cloth diaper demo and pointed out that even if their clients were using disposable, they could give them one or two cloth diapers that could be used in a pinch if money was tight and they couldn’t swing a package of disposables. The woman that was my contact admitted that when she heard "cloth diapers" she had the old "baby pins and cloth" in mind and couldn’t believe how gorgeous they were.

It felt great to hand that stuff over, so thank you. Thank you to the companies that donated the amazing stuff. Thank you to all of you that purchased the items and donated money. And thank you to all the people that work at these amazing agencies helping people having a tough time get through it. You all rock.

I totally forgot to take a picture of the group because I was too preoccupied with my hands turning a bizarre shade of purple from the diaper box debacle, but I promise to get one next year. 

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Round Up - Issue 11 November 2013

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Woohoo! I went down to the States for my annual Christmas shopfest and let me tell you something, if I lived in America I would be drunk, morbidly obese and having wares and sundries delivered to my door on a daily basis. One, I finally got to go to Trader Joe’s and thanks to your recommendations and cooler bag I nearly bought out the entire store. Two, Premier Liquor & Spirits is one of the most glorious places on earth – and I’ve been to Belize and watched the sun set from atop an ancient pyramid, just to give a little context. Wine for $3?! What?! You guys must come up here and step out into the cold air, see the liquor prices and say, “Oh hell no. Free health care or not, I’m out of here!” Three, this is the first year I’ve really been tuned into the whole Black Friday thing because I’m on more PR people’s radar and most of you guys are in the U.S. Boy are there some great deals coming down the pike for you guys. I’m going to try hard not to overwhelm because you should be eating Turkey and fighting with loved ones, but I’ll cherry pick the good stuff and pass it along on Facebook and Twitter.

On to the Round Up though!

 

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When I was at the ABC Expo I wanted to pop by the Cushy Closer booth to tell these guys that I think their product is wonderful. I’ve seen a couple of DIY versions of this on Pinterest but none of them looked totally figured out like these ones are, plus, at $11 I’d much rather “buy it yourself” than “do it yourself”.

 
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I don’t have little girls, yet I still find myself in a constant are-you-fucking-kidding-me-froth about some of the crap put out there for our wee women. So when Erica passed this website called, A Mighty Girl, I did a little “oh, hell yeah” because it’s a whole site of “books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls”. If you have to shop for a little lady age 0-13 this season, it’s worth checking out.

 
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Erica is on a roll this month because she also sent me the link to a site called Snap Me Swimwear.

 If you’ve ever taken a baby girl to the beach or pool, you know what a pain it is to peel their wet suit off if they need to go to the bathroom or have their diaper changed.

With SnapMe Swimwear, you simply undo the snaps at the bottom, change the diaper, and snap it back up. You can even unsnap it one-handed while your toddler is standing. I love the rash guard versions with capped sleeves so you’re not getting burnt little shoulders. There also some great deals on these on Amazon right now.

 

Love, love, LOVE this beautiful idea, from Abbey Saxton Photography, of taking a picture of your baby on a paper from the day he or she was born. If the news is pretty grim that day, the entertainment section, a Billboard Top 100 or even a grocery store flyer would be cool. If you’re located in West Coast Florida and are looking for a great photographer be sure to check out the rest of her site. 

 
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We get many questions about swaddling transitions in the Ask the Chicks group (click here to join) and one of the more popular suggestions is the Magic Sleepsuit. I had never heard of it so I checked it out and I can see why it’s really popular. It’s designed to be introduced at approximately three months of age when most babies are growing out of swaddling. It keeps them cozy and secure while muffling those twitches and startle-type movements that can wake them prematurely. You can find them on Amazon for about $40.

 
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A friend passed along this site when my son bolted from a doctor’s office at the sight of a needle. It’s called a Buzzy and it was created by a pediatrician who also happens to be a pain researcher. The little bee is like a vibrating ice pack that provides natural pain relief by confusing the body’s own nerves and distracting attention away from the poke. Not only can you use it for shots, but it can also be used to relieve scrapes, stings, splinter removal and rashes. It’s won a bunch of awards and runs about $40. If you have one let me know if it works!

 
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Further proof that fonts matter. If you know where to buy this card, let me know, I'm sure my nieces would love to give me one ; )

 

 
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Here’s another really smart idea called Diaper Snappers. Even with those little elastics inside pants, I find that pants can droop on little kids. Belts are really cool looking but getting one off to change a diaper, or worse to potty train, isn’t always practical. These ones snap through the back belt loops so they don’t even know they are there and tighten up the drawers on our string beans. They are $11 and can be found on their site or on Amazon.

 
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Forget airbrushing models, THIS is why Photoshop was created!

 
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Anna passed along this wonderful article after I posted the wildly popular Haggard Mother Sleep Training Method called Here are Some Lies People Tell You About Infant Sleep from Sweet Madeleine. I thought it was honest and brilliant and something every new parent should read.

"What is this bullshit? Why do we do this? Why do we voluntarily subject ourselves to sitting in a room full of people, being told we are doing it wrong simply because a handful of self-proclaimed experts with books to sell say so?"

 
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Googly eyes. Is there a day they can't make better?

 
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I also received an email about a great new website called Mama Views. They are a mom-focused, national directory and review site—like a Yelp or Angie’s List—dedicated to helping pregnant and new families find great support. Their directories include: Doulas
, 
Baby Nurses
, 
Childbirth Classes, and Lactation Consultants

I love this because there are nanny boards and babysitter websites but nothing that really focuses on the earlier stages. Plus, if you write a review with the promo code Holiday13 right now, you'll be entered to win a $25, $50, or $250 gift certificate at Babies 'R Us. Sweet!

 
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Well, it looks like the ABC Top 10 was a huge success. You guys threw it down on the entries and Meg and I were just so happy we could pass along some of the kick ass stuff we saw at the show. Special thanks goes out to my little Kelly for keeping it all organized – you make me look so competent. Congratulations to all the winners and I’m sure we’ll have no problem scoring you some great stuff next year after this year’s great turnout. I will be totally on my game next year considering that I will be staying longer AND hitting In-N-Out burger as soon as my plane touches down – I won’t make that mistake twice.

 
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I actually got my act together this year and ordered holiday cards. A panic usually sets in around December 18th. I freaked out, then say "screw it" and skip the cards then feel guilty as all the cards from organized families roll in. So I sat the crew on the porch yesterday, snapped this shot, uploaded it to Tiny Prints, plopped it in a design and hit "send". Done. If only I could get my holiday shopping out of the way this easily – everybody get gift certificates, surprise!

 
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Lastly, this week will be the launch of the very first Pregnant Chicken Give a Cluck! Thanks again, Jenny for totally blowing it out of the water with that name suggestion on Facebook.

I am working furiously to get all the items that have either been donated or acquired throughout the year up on eBay to be auctioned off so all the proceeds can go to gift cards for a local charity that supports young parents that are having a tough time. So stay tuned!

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Round Up - Issue 10 October 2013

What the hell happened to October? It seemed to fly by but, no matter, I've got a lot to cover this month so I'll just jump right in. 

 

 

First up is a site called babiebet.com. It's a free online baby pool where your friends and family can guess the gender, weight, birthday, hair color, height, etc. of your baby. It's a ton of good clean fun that everyone will get a kick out of.

 
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Next up are these sweet, little earrings called Poppy Drops. They are veggie dye, temporary tattoo earrings for little kids that want to wear earrings without the piercing. They carry tattoo nail art for tiny fingers as well. I also thought this would be a nice older sibling treat when a new baby arrives. It's a quiet, safe, fun way to express a little personal style.

 

 

 

 
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Love this article from Hands Free Mama called, The Important Thing About Yelling

 "She’s scared of me, I thought with the most painful realization imaginable. My six-year-old child is scared of my reaction to her innocent mistake."

It's such a good read that I'm sure most parents (me definitely included) can relate to about how yelling can slowly creep into our parenting. 

 

 

 

I've always been a big fan of month-by-month baby photo shoots as you can see in my Pinterest Board, but I find that this one has been done exceptionally well. It's no surprise that this adorable little man's mom is a photographer named, Kristen Honeycutt. She's based in Seattle so if you're in the neighbourhood and need a good photographer, ring 'er up. 

P.S. The stuffed animal that's in the shot is Bandit the Raccoon from bla bla kids. I've always been a fan of their stuff. 

 

 

 
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A reader named, Samantha, passed along a link to these engineering toys that are targeted toward girls. I think they are just brilliant.

"At GoldieBlox, our goal is to get girls building. We’re here to help level the playing field in every sense of the phrase. By tapping into girls strong verbal skills, our story + construction set bolsters confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things."

 

You can check out what it's about from the founder, Debbie Sterling.

 

The folks at ro•sham•bo baby passed along a pair of their sunglasses to me and I can totally see why they are so popular.

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"Our shades block 100% of uva/b rays and are made in Italy. The flexible but durable plastic is bpa-free and specially designed for the use and abuse a baby will put them through. We avoid unnecessary paint by molding our logos into our shades. even our carrying case is food grade plastic. Be confident you are buying the best quality, not just the best style."

They're $25 a pair which I thought was pretty reasonable considering the quality and how long they can wear them.

 
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Love this article from Kveller called, Tell a Friend: You Are A Good Mama.

 "I was stunned. I actually wanted to cry and hug her but I barely muttered a thank you as I watched her walk away. It wasn’t a particularly hard day or trying moment but to have someone, a stranger, tell me I was a good Mama was everything I didn’t know I needed right then and there."

 
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Someone sent me this picture and I just howled. What surprised me is how many people online were appalled that a child would be left alone long enough to do this. Really? My kids could have done something like that in five minutes. Easily. 

 

 

 
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This photo from Linden Photography proves that something can be both beautiful and accurate. She's located in New Hampshire if you're looking for an incredible photographer by-the-by.

 
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When the people at Fresh Canteen first contacted me with their Toronto-based food delivery service I wasn't quite sure what I thought of it. The way it works is you select the meals you’d like to eat from their weekly menu and they deliver you the ingredients. They use a refrigerated box so there’s no need to be home for the delivery (when they say refrigerated they mean it.) You can leave special instructions about how you’d like the box delivered and you can expect your box on Tuesdays between 12pm-8pm.

Every week you’ll have 6 recipes to choose from. Their boxes include simple to follow recipe cards that include step-by-step photo instructions and typically take 35 minutes or less and don't require any fancy equipment to prepare.

We had the thai beef that was beyond incredible and something I never would have pulled together on my own. 

I think this is perfect for someone who doesn't have a ton of time but loves to cook – it would be great if you were at home with a newborn and just didn't feel up to venturing into a grocery store or figuring out what to order from a delivery service. It isn't cheap but it costs about the same as Swiss Chalet so it's not too bad considering that it's a restaurant quality dinner. It's like those craft kits you get with all the goodies prepared – you just have to assemble it – only it's with food instead of googly eyes and glitter.

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If you use the code LOVEYOURGUTS at checkout until December 1, 2013, you'll get $30 off.

 

 
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Remember when you guys recommended local charities to me on Facebook? Well, I decided to take all the amazing stuff I've received all year and sell it on eBay so I can donate all the proceeds to a fantastic local organization called Young Parents No Fixed Address (http://www.ypnfa.ca/) which is a network of about 30 agencies that help young homeless/street involved, pregnant and parenting youth & their children. 

That way someone gets an awesome phil&teds stroller for a good deal, and some kid struggling with a baby gets a gift card from Walmart to buy things like diapers, a snowsuit, food, you name it. I'm hoping to help about 100 people (fingers crossed.)

The support I've received from companies has been astounding. There is going to be some incredible stuff up for grabs on eBay so stay tuned!

I also need a name for this operation. Maybe something like "100 Bags from the Burd" or "Pregnant Chicken's Holiday Helper." So put your clever thinking hats on because you guys are amazing at coming up with this kind of thing.

Lastly, if any of you know or work for a company (I'm especially looking for makers of disposable diapers or formula – I'm looking at you P&G and Similac) that would like to participate, feel free to contact me at amy@pregnantchicken.com. I'm going to do a special feature for all the companies that helped out on this, so they get free advertising on one of the top ranked pregnancy websites to go along with the good karma.

That's it for now. Onward and upward! 

 

 

 

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