September is Baby Safety Month

From the moment that line appears on the pregnancy test, you never stop worrying about your little ones safety and wellbeing. You worry about eating the right things while pregnant. And then how much your baby is eating once they arrive. How much they weigh. How much they are sleeping. Why they aren’t crawling yet. Sometimes Every. Darn. Thing!

It can get a little overwhelming can’t it? There’s information just everywhere. And sometimes you can’t help but think that some manufacturers are fuelling the worries in order to sell more gadgets and gizmos, right?

That’s why we like September – it’s Baby Safety Awareness Month. A whole month dedicated to helping us parents make sense of the information overload out there. A month which encourages manufacturers to highlights the main safety issues we need to be aware of. And more importantly the simple steps we can take to reduce those rising worry levels.

This year, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is focusing on the importance of product registration cards and recall response. Something that is often overlooked. Or thrown away with the empty box.

The JPMA made this little video to highlight how useful these registration cards can be when it comes to matters of safety.

https://youtu.be/FkVj4sYL-K4

Awareness of product recalls can be lifesaving – so a) make sure you register so you have a direct way for manufacturers to contact you if a product you have purchased comes in to question and b) make sure you spread the word to other parents you know, be it on the phone, at the school gates or via social media. We’re all in this together – let’s support each other through it!

If you are seeking more information re: potential baby hazards in the home, from liquid detergent packs to kitchen safety, please visit the official Baby Safety Website here.

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Grandparents Day

grandparents daySunday is National Grandparents Day – a day to celebrate all the wonderful Grandmas, Nanas, Nonnas, Grannies, Gramps, Grandpas…or whatever name you use… out there!

Grandparents Day was never designed to be a day for selling cards, flowers and gifts though –as much as they would be appreciated we’re sure. The lady behind it all, Marian Lucille McQuade, (a grandma to 43, and great-grandma to 10! Wow!) first campaigned for it to be a family day – a day that called for generations to simply spend quality time together. It was in 1978 that Congress proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day, with President Jimmy Carter stating it was a day to “honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer“.

So this weekend, if you are still lucky enough to have your own grandparents around, as well as your parents, don’t forget to take the time to really show them your love and appreciation – and make sure your littles do too! Because let’s be honest, life with kids is busy and we often forget to show it day to day, week to week, don’t we?

Hands up moms and dads, who would have been completely lost in parenthood without the support of their parents – especially in those early months, when we were finding our feet as a new parent?

Hands up – whose parents look after the littles while you work? Be it full or part time. And they LOVE it!

Hands up – whose parents always make themselves available on the phone to you if you’ve had a hard day, or if you need reassurance that you are doing this whole parenting thing right?

Hands up – whose parents can make your little kids squeal with excitement at just the mention of their name?

Hands up – who never get tired hearing your parents’ or grandparents’ stories of the ‘old days’?

I bet there are a lot of hands up right now. Grandparents rock!

Unfortunately it’s not the case for everyone, but we never stop needing our parents, or our parents’ parents, however old we are. And this weekend is another chance to remind them all of that, especially if we have been a little slack on the appreciation front recently. Another chance to remind them that they sit at the heart of your family, no matter how many miles might be between you. To remind them that your kids adore them and love their old tales, traditions…and recipes!  So whether they live around the corner, in a different state, or in a different country, put the spotlight on Grandparents this weekend. Be together – be it virtually or physically. Cherish them! And learn from them, so that one day, our own grandbabies will not only know about them, but think we are that awesome too!

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Our Favorite Places for Free Family Fun

ARGGH! It’s September!

Of course we mean, phew, the kids are back at school and everything, but, arrrrrgh, where has this year gone?

It’s that time of the year where you let out a big sigh over the total cost of summer entertainment and back to school prep. And then an even bigger sigh when you think about the calendar dates crammed in to the next few months- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and then Christmas and New Year.

So ultimately it’s that time of year where FREE or low cost family fun ideas are most welcome.

Luckily for us, our year round sunshine and wealth of beautiful beaches means that we have a lot of free outdoor options for families, as well as indoor, (Buccaneer Beach and Moonlight Beach are the best aren’t they? We’re so lucky!). But beaches and sand filled cars aside, here are our top FIVE cash friendly favorite places in the County:

 

  1. ALTA VISTA BOTANICALvista-botanical GARDENS:

A little closer to our Vista home than the San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas – and a little smaller – the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is full of character and charm. And is still evolving. It’s beautiful, varied, peaceful (even with little ones in tow) and offers some striking views of the local area. While not all pathways are stroller friendly (some are steep and uneven!), you can work around the garden with wheels. It is very kid friendly – in no walking distance at all, right by the entrance, you will find a stroller friendly music garden for the kids (adorable!), play tunnels, a butterfly tepee and a picnic area. Best of all, the gardens are also bursting with sculptures – imagine your kid’s face as they turn a corner and discover a giant metal T-Rex, a Scorpion or a Giraffe (The metal artwork is by Ricardo Breceda).

Admission is $3 based on the honor system – bring your own lunch, walking shoes, hats and sunscreen and that’s a cheap and beautiful lunch date with the kids – plus a few dinosaurs here and there.

1270 Vale Terrace Dr, Vista.

 

  1. LOCAL LIBRARY:

Beyond visiting your local library to check out new bedtime tales, don’t forget to check out their events calendar too, either on site or online. We have some fantastic libraries in the County, offering regular story time, arts and crafts, kids’ yoga, family movie nights – even programs that will let your little ones read to cuddly dogs (awwwww!). All FREE of charge.

Various locations.

 

  1. BATIQUITOS LAGOON:

Once you hit the trail and are out of sight and sound of the I-5, this FREE ecological reserve is a gem. It is bursting with nature and bustling with hikers, dog walkers and families on an adventure stroll. Most of the trail is stroller friendly and there are plenty of little bench stops for tired little legs, or snack attack breaks. (Note, bicycles are not allowed). The public walking and hiking trail is about two miles long and you can pick up a pamphlet at the educational center which helps you know what animals and plants to look out for.

……And for those that might care, we’ve been told there is a bunch of Pokemon to pick up on the trail. So you could always make it a family Pokemon Go hunt. The older ‘littles’ will LOVE that!

7380 Gabbiano Lane, Carlsbad.

 

  1. WATERFRONT PARK

Bring a tent, hats, sunscreen, swimwear and a picnic and just spend an afternoon relaxing on the beautiful lawn in front of the water fountains and play area. Completely FREE. And if you want to avoid parking drama, you can always make it a real adventure and take the scenic Coaster train down to Santa Fe Station and simply walk to the park. It’s not far at all – and so much fun!

1600 Pacific Hwy, San Diego.

 

  1. FREE MUSEUM DAYS

How many of us remember to take advantage of the free museum days? So many of the main city museums, including the New Children’s Museum and the Natural History Museum, offer San Diego and County residents FREE admission on select days each month – to find out which days are free, visit http://freemuseumday.org/sd.html

And take note, this October, San Diego Museum Council invites kids to explore even more of San Diego’s diverse museums – for free! From October 1-31, children ages 12 and under receive free admission with a paid adult (limit 2) at more than 40 museums including Birch Aquarium at Scripps. For more info and to download the coupon, visit http://www.sandiegomuseumcouncil.org

Various locations.

 

So that’s our top five….but we’re also throwing in an extra one for you for free of charge. Number 6: LOCAL STORES! Like us. Keep your ear to the ground and follow your favorite family stores on Social Media to find out if and when they might be hosting some FREE in-store entertainment. We do regular events like complimentary baby and toddler story time for example, (check out our events calendar here for dates), while stores like Wild Birds Unlimited on El Camino Real host regular live animal presentations, which both the kids and parents will love!

Have fun out and about guys!

 

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Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

wbw2016-logoIt’s that time of year again where moms across the globe unite to celebrate the importance, beauty and benefits of breastfeeding.

A time where we realize how far society’s come in supporting mothers who choose to nurse….but yet sadly also a time to consider how far we still have left to go.

Yes we’ve seen an increase in educational literature and campaigns. We’ve seen improved public facilities and more accommodating employees. We’ve even got celebs like Liv Tyler, Chrissy Teigan and Mila Kunis now openly talking about breastfeeding, even sharing ‘brelfies’ on social media.

But progress is slow. Breastfeeding is far from being normalized in the mainstream.  There is still that ongoing fear of being judged in public. Still a need to be seen as ‘covering it up’ / hiding away. I mean even Mila Kunis has been publicly shamed for nursing in public without a cover. (We loved her response by the way: ‘If it’s not for you, don’t look!’).

While evidence that breastfeeding benefits women, children, as well as communities and societies, has never been stronger, breastfeeding rates have remained stagnant for the last 20 years says the World Health Organization.

So, this year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is all about the bigger picture – breastfeeding’s role in sustainable development. Because as the WHO says: “breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of a child’s healthy development; it is also the foundation of a country’s development. In fact, supporting breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments countries can make in the wellbeing of their citizens — and thus, in their own long-term strength.”

The aim is to therefore stop people seeing breastfeeding as isolated acts in society, but rather, acts FOR society. It’s something that benefits everyone, so should be championed by everyone.

The WHO is encouraging people to “support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” highlighting that ALL of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly. We all need to do and ask for much more to normalize breastfeeding. More brelfies. More conversations about it (the good and the hard!). More funding. More education. More shared experiences. More public kindness and understanding. More welcoming locations/facilities for moms to use. More employee support – and rights.

As always, we are 100% behind this year’s World Breastfeeding Week. But more than that, we understand our ongoing role and responsibility in this powerful movement. We feel so lucky to have our village of parents and professionals, both on and off line, to provide such a strong and accessible year round support network for new moms and moms-to-be. From social media community chats to Breastfeeding 101 classes, Lactation Lounges, and workshops on returning back to the workplace post baby, we are arming parents with confidence and knowledge on how to make breastfeeding really work for them – for as long as they wish. We work hard to prepare moms ahead of baby’s arrival, so they know what to expect, as well as help them to finish nursing on their terms –not because of social pressures, glares and nerves.

Keeping doors permanently open on this subject matter and empowering our local mamas with kindness and encouragement is how we can ALL best support this cause – both for Breastfeeding Week, and beyond. Onwards we march!

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