Archive for Mama’s Gotta Have It

Put Down the Cookie and Open the Freezer

Fa-la-la-la-la-la- Fifteen pounds!

Ok. Maybe not fifteen.  But I sometimes feel like it’s at least five!

I love sweets.  Any time of the year.  As far as I’m concerned one of the absolute best things about summer is ice cream.  And winter?  Pie of course.  And Christmas is all about the cookies!

But all those cookies and cakes and candies and pies add up!  I’m sure I’m not the only one who comes home from the holidays feeling like her skinny jeans don’t fit.

So what’s a sweets-loving gal to do?  Listen, when you arrive at your in-laws, head out to the grocery store, ostensibly for a toothbrush or diapers or something…and pick up a few containers of Whole Fruit Sorbets.  We recently had the chance to try several flavors (they came packed in dry ice–so cool!) and they are delish.  I am partial to the lemon.  Doc Hubby was loving the mango.  And the Bean…um…well, we kinda haven’t shared.  Grown ups need their own sweeties sometimes!

So what makes Whole Fruit Sorbets so special?  They are available in seven delectable and really unique flavors: Mango, Black Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Lemon, Peach, and the new Valencia Orange (mmmmm). And they are…FAT FREE!  Yes.  Fat free.  Loaded with flavor.  And they taste like real fruit.  Real refreshing–

Hold on.  Doc Hubby just handed me a bowl of Strawberry Sorbet.  Okay now that’s my favorite.

But where was I? Real, refreshing sorbets that are between 120 and 160 calories per serving. Sophisticated, grown-up flavors that your kids will love too.

And for entertaining?  How beautiful would a bowl of that Raspberry Sorbet look on your holiday table?  So elegant.

So where can you find Whole Fruit Sorbets?  Check out their store finder to find the shop closest to your inlaws.  Sure those cookies are soooo good.  But throw in a couple of servings of sorbet as well.  Your waist line will be glad you did.

We received a sampling of Whole Fruit Sorbets for the purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are strictly my own and not influenced by anyone.

 

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My Go-To Grandparent Gift…Thank You Snapfish

Here’s the good news.  It’s really not too late.  You can still make amazing personalized photo gifts and have them wrapped and under the tree by the big day.

I have written about my love for photo calendars in years past and they are still my go-to gift for grandparents and great-grandparents.   It’s hard to find that perfect gift for the senior members of the family–many are downsizing and actively giving away their things.  I love photo calendars because they are something you can wrap and place in your loved-one’s hands, but after a year, they can be recycled.  Or kept.  Or cut up to make collages or coasters or puzzles or cards.

And I’m going to be honest here, I love making them.  It brings out the crafty geek in me.  I raid my siblings’ photo sites and facebook pages.  I scrounge my parents’ photo files when I’m home.  I upload all the pics to Snapfish, and then I spend waaaaaaay too much time browsing all of the background designs.  They have even more choices this year than last, and I absolutely love a lot of the templates.

The process of making the calendars couldn’t be easier.  After you upload your photos and choose your calendar size and background, Snapfish creates your calendar (you can change the backgrounds at any time–and even mix and match if you like).  Then you just drag and drop photos until the pages look exactly like you want.  I love the “magic page” formatting option!  If you select this option, you can move up to 15 photos onto a page, and Snapfish formats them automatically.  You can switch photos, re-shuffle them, add and remove photos.  The pages are infinitely customizable.  And of course, you can also just use one or two beautiful photos for each page if you choose.  Enter your own holidays, important family dates, and even include photos on your nieces’ and nephews’ birthdates!

Some years I really try to make each page seasonally appropriate.  I have done Father’s Day pages for June and I usually always include the kids in their Halloween costumes in October.  This year I did a little of that, and then I created some pages that are just collages of my favorite photos from events during the year–even if they took place in other months.  I thought about what pictures will make me smile in November…and decided this year that November would feature the beach!  And for the cover, as you can see above, I just included all of my favorite photos that didn’t find their way onto pages inside!

I made three separate calendars for my family, my husband’s family and my brother-in-law’s family!  I did small, 8 1/2″ by 11″ for our family and made the larger 12″ by 12″ for the others.  The quality is good for the price, and every year at this time there are lots of deals to be had!  If you order before 12/9/12 you can get 50% off all 8 1/2″ by 11″ calendars when you use the code HOLIDAYBEST.

Practical.  Pretty.  And guaranteed not to clutter up your parents’ house.  Now that’s a gift anyone’s gotta have.

Big thanks to Snapfish for sending me a coupon code to make my calendars this year!  As always, my opinions are totally my own and in no way influenced by anyone.

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Mama’s Gotta Have It: A FashionABLE Scarf Giveaway

Babies Gotta Have It’s very own Kristin is coming to us with a wonderful organization to benefit women around the world…and a terrific scarf giveaway!  

During the holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving, and the joy of helping others.  While I am committed to helping those who are less fortunate within the United States, I think it is great to help women around the world learn a new craft and create a sustainable business. That’s why we would like to host a giveaway; we want to spread the Christmas spirit!  And with all of our Babies Gotta Have It giveaways geared toward kids, we thought it would also be fun to treat Mama to a new scarf (because really, we do not have time to pamper ourselves)!

 

FashionABLE is a non-profit organization that helps women in Africa who have been exploited due to the effects of poverty.  With every scarf made, a job is created, and the net profit is sent back to holistically rehabilitate women.  So your contribution forms a cycle of giving and job creation that in turn leads to the rehabilitation of more women!  Plus, you get a beautiful scarf from it!

 

Not only does FashionABLE provide job training, but it also works with “Women at Risk” to offer counseling and rehabilitation (usually from exploitation).  The ultimate goal is to help these women become healthy and productive members of society!  Who can argue with that?

 

I have already bought 5 scarves as gifts and for myself!  And now I am offering one to you as a giveaway!  You will even get to choose which one you want…and wouldn’t it be great to pay it forward to someone else?!  So, pamper yourself and enter the giveaway!  The fashionABLE scarves make great gifts for all of the women in your life, and you can read the testimonies of the women you are helping here.  Merry Christmas!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

photo10 150x150 Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case: Protection from Our Hurricane Kristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and new baby brother MD.



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Because Life Really Is Rosey…a Hand Stamped Jewelry Giveaway

One thing I love about my life as an itinerant actress/Mama is that I meet so many incredible people.  Ten years ago, I was cast as a magician’s assistant in a play in Louisville, KY.  The magician was played by an amazing actor and equally amazing guy named Rene.  When you work out of town on a show, you become a close-knit tribe.  Everyone in the production is away from spouses and boyfriends, siblings and pets, and the cast becomes your instant family.  If you’re lucky, and really in this business you often are, you meet wonderful people. And then, as time passes and everybody’s loved-ones make the trip to see the show, you meet their equally wonderful families.  And your show family grows.  Ten years ago Rene and I were both more newly married, and I was so excited to meet his gorgeous and talented wife Sarah Jane when she came to visit.  And now, here we are ten years later, with kids galore, both still happily married and both still pursuing this crazy life.

Sarah Jane is not only an accomplished singer and performer herself but also a talented jewelry-maker, and it’s my incredible honor to introduce you to her line of exquisite hand-stamped jewelry.  Sarah Jane’s Etsy boutique,  Life is Rosey: Jewelry That Speaks was named after her first child, Rosalee.  You know I love promoting mom-created and mom-run small businesses and that’s exactly what Life Is Rosey Is.  And Sarah Jane’s work is, to my eye, extremely special.

So what sets Sarah Jane’s hand stamped jewelry apart from the rest?  Several things.  First and foremost all of her silver pieces are 100% sterling silver.  No silver base metals are included in her work.  Her pieces are unique yet simple, delicate yet enduring, meaningful yet full of whimsy and fun. I just love the birthstones and charms she incorporates into some of her designs–so playful!

As Sarah Jane says in her Etsy Shop Announcement:

I create hand stamped necklaces, bracelets, earrings, personalized guitar picks, and golf ball markers from sterling silver, copper, bronze, and 14K gold filled. I love stamping out each piece with meaningful words, date, verses, and phrases and it makes me extra happy that so many customers tell me their loved one cried when they received the gift. Yep, if you want make someone cry, I’m your jewelry designer!

I mean, just look at these gorgeous photos. Her work is beautiful, right?

So here’s the best part about profiling a friend’s work on Babies Gotta Have It – Sarah Jane is offering one Babies Gotta Have It reader any piece of his or her choice from her Life is Rosey Etsy Shop!  That’s right, any piece of your choice, personalized to your specifications, and shipped to you with a polishing pad to keep your jewelry shiny looking and new. Talk about the perfect holiday gift.

You can order any of the pieces pictured and lots others through Sarah Jane’s Etsy Shop, Life is Rosey.  And, in honor of our amazing Life Is Rosey giveaway we’re hosting our first ever Babies Gotta Have It rafflecopter giveaway.  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and let us know how you like it!

Update!  We have a winner!  Rafflecopter and Random.org say entry 284 – Kathryn D is the winner!  Thank you so very much to everyone who entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Go Plastic Free This Summer and Make Some Popsicles

I’m on a bit of a green kick these last few weeks.  I posted about plant-based compostable paper and plastic cups, recycling kids clothes with thredUP, and now as the temperature soars here in the Northeast I’m back on the no plastic kick.

Plastic is creepy enough.  But when it gets very very hot or very very cold I’m even more freaked out.  How is it that for years we drank tepid plastic-flavored water from plastic containers that sat in hot backpacks for hours and didn’t think….hmmm…maybe that’s not right?  I’ve been trying to learn about food and milk container safety since I started Babies Gotta Have It and I’m pretty convinced by the evidence.

But look it’s summer!  It’s hot!  We all want to have fun and what’s more fun that making homemade popsicles?!  Not much, I say!  My good friends at our partner NoPlastic.ca sent us their amazingly awesome, space-age Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold and we tried it last weekend.  And the popsicles came out absolutely perfectly!

The mold is all stainless steel (obviously plastic and BPA free) and comes with a pack of wooden popsicle sticks which you’ll need to replenish when you use them all (you can even order reusable bamboo ones from NoPlastic).  Insert the awesome shaped popsicle mold into the rack, pour in your filling of choice, lay the lid on top.  Each lid has a rubber, colored disc on top with a slot for the stick.  Stick in the stick.  Freeze.  You can remove one popsicle at a time without having to melt any of the others, which is awesome.  Run your popsicle under hot water for half a second and the metal mold easily slides off revealing a PERFECT popsicle.  The lid becomes a convenient juice-catcher.  Oh and the different colored discs on each mold allows each kid to have his very own popsicle that he made.  Genius.

And homemade popsicle recipes have come a long way.  Check out the offerings on Epicurious. And of course Martha has some amazing looking options.

Homemade, healthy, frozen treats. That’s something Mamas and Babies definitely gotta have.

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This Fourth of July Have a Red, White, Blue & Green Picnic

This post written last Friday afternoon…not published then because, well, I was scrambling!

There’s just no getting around it.  Summer means food.  And food means Mama’s planning meals.  Meals for three.  For five.  For ten.  And yet, when you’re dealing with families and kids there’s just no planning, is there?

We’re hosting a last minute get together with Doc Hubby’s parents this weekend, and I’ve been spending the morning repurposing my menus from our last planned weekend with friends…which we had to cancel because Bean was sick and had been exposed to Coxsackie (basically foot and mouth disease–ugh).  She didn’t end up having it, but, as goes life, our weekend plans were scrapped at the last minute.  And now again, at the last minute, we have plans for visiting.  And as every Mama out there knows, visiting means eating.

I’ve been browsing my Pinterest boards for recipes–finally I’m gonna do something about all that yummy stuff I’ve been pinning.  And, as we Mamas do, I’ve got a plan for meals basically laid out.  It’s a mixture of being prepared and flying by the seat of your pants, this Motherhood.  Isn’t it?  We stock and think and fret and prepare.  And then we improvise.

One thing I’m trying to stock are greener picnic products.  So I’m just not just mindlessly picking up less environmentally friendly options during the last minute scramble phase of the picnic planning.  Recently I was introduced to Repurpose Compostables — a line of affordable, sustainable, plant-based cutlery and and cups.  And I am so glad I have them in my cabinets, ready for use.

Repurpose’s mission is to eliminate single-use plastics from the environment and help consumers easily incorporate eco-friendly, sustainable products into their lives.  So what does it mean that the products are compostable?  What if you don’t have a compost pile in your back yard?  Well, actually that’s not where these items belong. The idea is actually that the plant-based Repurpose Compostable products will break down completely within 90 days in an industrial composting setting (don’t get all gloaty you Bay Area people with your ubiquitous composting bins).  Don’t have one of those in your backyard either? Well, even if these products end up in a landfill they will break down more quickly and generate less CO2 than other recyclable plastics that are sent to a landfill. And because only 5% – 8% of plastics are recycled properly to begin with, these compostable products are a much better choice.

But maybe the video below says it best of all.  Repurpose Compostable hot and cold cups, and new utensils are plant based.  Read the Repurpose FAQ page for more info, but basically they perform as well as traditional plastics but ultimately they are made of corn, instead of petroleum.  Corn.  Renewable.  Compostable.  Corn. I’d rather put than in my mouth than oil. Just sayin’.  Repurpose hot cups are in stores now and the cold cups and utensils will be coming out in September 2012. The hot cups are available now at Bed Bath & Beyond, Gourmet Guild, Gelson’s the Super Market, and online at our affiliate Amazon.com.

Looking for more ways to green up your holiday picnic?  Check out the Glad Waste Less One Bag site.  The One Bag campaign challenges you to send only one bag of trash to the landfill after your event with all the rest going to recycling and compost.  Whether you’re hosting a tailgate, a wedding or a 4th of July shebang, check out their downloadable tips to reduce the amount of trash you put out there this summer season.

This 4th of July, why not be prepared to go red, white, blue and GREEN with Repurpose Compostables.  They won’t cook your food for you.  But they’ll help you and your family eat it and feel good about it.  That’s something Mama’s definitely gotta have.


 

Thank you to Repurpose compostables for sending me product to review.  As always, all views expressed in this post are totally my own and were in no way influenced by anyone. 

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The Dorian Gray Award – Give Daddy the Gift of Fitness & Youth

June 17th is Father’s Day.  It also happens to be our anniversary.  Kinda a big day!

When Doc Hubby turned 40 he did something that I have to say, really impressed me.  He made a commitment to jogging twice a week. Every week.  All year. Even in rain or snow.  He dons his special cold weather jogging gear: a hat and gloves with the snot pads (no joke–they come with a built in sponge thing so you can wipe your nose) and his iPod and heads out to dodge the ice.  And it’s worked.  He looks great.  So great, in fact, and this pains me a bit to share because he will become totally insufferable, that at his recent college reunion he was pronounced the leading contender for the Dorian Gray Award — the classmate least changed over the last twenty years.

Boys love their exercise gear.  I think having the right, high tech stuff makes them more likely to actually go through with the exercise resolutions.  So consider this year, instead of a shirt, some fitness gear for your fella’s big day.  We recently had the chance to check out a few new fitness products from Sportline and were really impressed by the array of cool exercise equipment out there.

Sportline has a great new line of heart rate monitors and pedometers.  We are especially taken with the Pocket Snapshot Pedometer.  I think this is an especially good idea for Dads and Grandfathers who may be trying to add fitness walking or light jogging into their routines.  This sleek little device was designed to fit into your pocket and has a clear, easy-to read screen that shows five key fitness data readouts –steps, distance, calories, average pace, and total activity time.  Single button operation ensures that Grandpa won’t be stuck scrolling through a small, hard to read screen with unclear readings.  And it can be worn on multiple places on the body in any orientation.  My Dad is getting one on the 17th.

So now that Doc Hubby is running, I think he needs to start incorporating some strength training! After all, there’s always Dorian Gray 2017! And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want 25 pound dumbells under the TV in my living room.  (Recall, we don’t have a basement workout room in our little city apartment.)  The Men’s Health Quick Adjust Resistance Band easily adjusts from 0 to 5 feet, and to any resistance level and the swivel handles provide ergonomic flex and can be used for total body strength training.  Body sculpting fitness bands are convenient, portable and really effective! And the band comes with a complete workout DVD as well.

Both of these items are available at retailers across the country.  The Snapshot Pedometer is available at Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, Fred Meyer, Academy, Meijer, Hibbett’s, and Big 5.

The gift of youth and fitness.  That’s something Daddies (and Mamas) definitely gotta have.

Thanks to EB Sport Group for sending us these neat products to try!

 

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Dress the Part – A Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway!

It’s Springtime! The flowers are blooming, the grass is green…and if you’re anything like me you have a whole bunch of events to attend before the lazy days of summer roll on in and slow life down.  In the next few weeks I have my dad’s retirement dinner, preschool graduation, a Mother’s Day tea, a baby shower, and kindergarten orientation.  I officially need nice clothes for four of those events, and despite my typical penchant for jeans and a tee shirt, even nice jeans and an awesome tee shirt, I really should find myself some sort of outfit for the orientation and get-to-know you hoopla at Bean’s new school so everyone isn’t thinking “cute kid, but who’s the homeless woman with her?”

I am fairly certain I was born without both fashion sense and the gene that makes me care enough about it to really work at acquiring some.  As a stay-at-home Mom I can eke by in workout clothes.  As an actress, someone else designs clothing for me to wear.   Still, I watch women in this city who seem to have it together–the right clothes for the right occasion.  Women who wear cute and practical summer dresses to the playground–they look comfortable, age-appropriate, and together in some way that I in my jeans and Keens just simply don’t.  There’s a French Mama who brings her daughter to ballet at the same place Bean goes, and every time I see her arrive I think to myself “Man, I really need to look in the mirror before I walk out the door.”  French Mama is usually wearing a skirt or dress, often boots but sometimes just great shoes, her hair in a chic pony tail, and she just looks effortlessly elegant. Of course she’s French.  Plus she could be Kristin Davis’s twin sister.  She’s that pretty.  But still…is effortless fashion really impossible for me?

I suppose the secret, of course, is that effortless is never effortless.  Some thought, in addition to some instinct no doubt, goes into her look.  And did I mention she’s French?  But also having a closet which contains the elements of the perfect playground or ballet drop-off or Kindergarten Orientation look is kinda necessary. So when Shabby Apple, an online boutique featuring gorgeous women’s dresses,  approached me to review one of their dresses and give one away to a reader (yeah, you heard me) I said, absolutely!

I don’t know about you but I get nervous buying clothes online unless I really know a brand well.  But the Shabby Apple dresses come with sizing guides (most of which say that the dresses fit generously so buy a size smaller than usual–gotta love that) which I found to be accurate.  I ended up ordering the Ballerina dress to review and buying the DaVinci dress because I honestly couldn’t decide between the two, and I knew I needed to pick up a few things for all these events.  The Shabby Apple styles are gorgeous.  They have a wonderful variety for all sizes and all occasions. Check out the “Fit to Flatter” questionnaire that directs you to dresses perfect for your body type.  You can even message them them for “style advice” using an online form on their site! How cool is that?

The Shabby Apple collections are divided into Vintage Inspired and Boutique Collections and are so different from the cookie cutter looks you find at the mall.  Yet the styles are wearable and contemporary at the same time.  So how did I do?  Well, in the interest of full disclosure I will again, post photos of myself in the clothes I got.  Again, forgive my lame photos.  But, I’m really happy with them both.

The Ballerina Dress, which is the one we’ll be giving away here, is made of a poly/rayon/spandex blend so it travels well and is very comfy.  The fabric is a really pretty purple color, and the v neck and ruched midsection are both super flattering, especially to New Mamas and anyone wanting to conceal a little around the tummy.  Shabby Apple even lists this dress in its “New Mamas” section.  They suggest you order one size down as the dress “fits generously” and I definitely agree.  From the comments, this dress is probably not best for you petite gals, but for anyone who is a little bit bigger or taller I think it’s great.  I think it’s going to just be a really versatile summer dress.  It’s my choice for the Mother’s Day celebration at my Grandmother’s assisted living residence tomorrow!

I bought the Da Vinci Dress, and I’m kind of in love with it.  This is my choice for Kindergarten Orientation I think.  I love the kangaroo pouch pocket and the poly/rayon/spandex jersey is even softer and silkier than the Ballerina dress (which is a heavier weight fabric).  It’s less forgiving around the tummy, even with the drop waist, but it gives me incentive to keep spinning.  I really love it.

New Spring and Summer frocks! Yeah, that’s something Mama’s definitely gotta have.

And you can too!  One lucky Babies Gotta Have It reader will win the Ballerina Dress from Shabby Apple pictured below (I was gonna pose like that in my photo too…) valued at $54!  Want to enter? Read on!

To Enter the Shabby Apple Ballerina Dress Giveaway:

  • MANDATORY ENTRY #1: Your mandatory entry is two parts!  First, you have to “like” Shabby Apple on Facebook.  Then leave me a comment saying that you did, and sharing another item from Shabby Apple you think would be great this summer. That’s it!  Entering is that easy!

***Want extra chances to win? After you have made your first entry as described above, do anything listed below and leave me additional comments for each one letting me know what you did!  Maximum of seven entries per person.

  • Follow Shabby Apple on Twitter.
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet this giveaway. I’ve made it easy just cut and paste: It’s springtime! Shabby Apple has great dresses for New Moms & Every Gal. Win one from @BabiesGottaHavT & @shabbyapple http://snurl.com/23gskas
  • Subscribe to my blog – click HERE!
  • “Like” Babies Gotta Have It on Facebook. Click HERE!
  • Email your friends about the giveaway and link to the giveaway post! cc me in the message (babiesgottahaveit@gmail.com)–I promise I will not spam you or your friends. Cross my heart.

Your email address will remain private and not be shared with anyone. Giveaway only open to those with U.S.  addresses. Must be 18 or older to win. Giveaway begins on Friday May 11th and ends on Friday June 1st at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. Very soon after,  Random.org will select the winner and  I’ll email them immediately. After my daughter called Larry the Cable guy the last time she did a drawing, we have decided to take a little vacation from her choosing the winner. Random.org is in no way as cute and unpredictable as my daughter, but it is much more efficient and does not use any pieces of paper, even recycled ones. I am sure you will understand. Thanks for entering!

Update! We have a winner!  Random.org says “ 68 ” – Congratulations Nicole!  Thanks to everyone who entered!

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For the Urban Cowgirl – Ariat Jeans and Cowboy Boots

A few weeks ago I was invited to a press preview to check out Ariat’s new Fall line of boots and apparel for men, women and children. I did a play in Dallas about seven years ago, and before I left, Doc Hubby and I went to a huge boot store to get me some authentic cowboy boots to bring back to the city.  I tried on oodles and oodles of pairs.  I chose these Ariats because they were the absolute most comfortable and to my mind, some of the prettiest.  I feel about boots the way some gals feel about heels.  I love my boots.  If I had a zillion dollars…and a walk in closet…well you know.

This is a must-have baby, toddler and preschooler product review blog.  But every Mama’s gotta have a little bit of the cowgirl in her.

Not to mention every girl.  These are the new Fat Baby Flower Boots by Ariat which come complete with “wiggle room” so your little pardner will have room to grow.  These amazing pink cowboy boots for girls definitely go from city to country with pizazz, and I know my little fashionista would love a pair for back to school!

And then there are these…sorry I had to pause to wipe the drool off my keyboard.  I don’t know what they are called, but I know they will be available from Ariat this Fall and they are divine.

And these.  Forgive the blurriness of my cell phone pic.  I was trembling.  They are just too gorgeous for words.

So. I drooled over adorable and incredibly functional boots for girls, salivated for tooled leather for women, fondled a cowboy boot or two…and then I checked out the line of women’s apparel.  Did I mention I lived in Texas for three years when I was a kid?  I did.  And I still fancy myself a transplanted country girl here in the city.  The new lines of Ariat jeans are totally gorgeous.  They sent me a pair to try out.  I chose the Turquoise Stretch Moonshadow jeans that are available now, true to size, in a long (I love a company that accommodates tall girls who want to wear boots), and I absolutely love them!  They have a nice mid-rise to reign in that baby belly but are in no way, shape, or form “mom jeans.”  The denim is soft, just stretchy enough, and lightweight.  Form fitting around the legs, gentle boot cut on the bottom.  And I think they’re kinda hot!

I wore them the first night I got them to meet friends in Tribeca and then see a kinda hip downtown theater production. With plain black boots, a lavender velvet top, and a vintage bracelet I inherited from my grandmother.

Forgive the silly poses and the grainy pics.  I was doing my best.

Anyway, Ariat is definitely moving from the rodeo circuit right onto the busy sidewalks.  The new styles are gorgeous and the clothes are beautifully made. Hello Mother’s Day! Hear that Daddy?  Skip the flowers!  Mama wants boots!

Matching cowboy boots for Mama and baby?  Yeah, that’s something every gal’s gotta have.

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When My Little Bean Stopped Eating Beans

Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Dressings

Sometimes I really miss baby food.  I loved going to the store and looking at all those neat little jars of organic earth-toned purees.  I loved the satisfying clink they made in my reusable grocery bag–the neat little stacks of them in the cupboard.  I see how many more organic baby food options there are now, and that, along with the proliferation of amazing earth-friendly baby products, almost makes me want to do it all over again. Almost.

Back in those days my little Bean ate beans with gusto.  Peas with pleasure. And prunes with…enthusiasm. And lentils and sweet potatoes and squash. And tons of other colorful fruits and veggies.  Honestly, the toddler and preschooler turn against veggies came as kind of a shock to me.  I never once suggested that green food was bad food.  In any way.  Doc Hubby and I model healthy eating as much as possible.  Cate sees a colorful variety of foods on both of our plates, and I say with a bit of pride, that since moving to New York almost 20 years ago our palates have expanded exponentially.  I am almost abashed to say that we have indeed, become foodies.

So when Bean started turning her nose up at vegetables and saying “I don’t like anything that’s green,” I was truly shocked.  Where did this food aversion come from? Sometimes I wonder if all the songs and TV shows encouraging healthy eating actually led to her vegetable about-face.  It seems that these shows make the assumption that kids are coming to them with food aversions.  That when they turn on the TV or open the book or listen to the song, they already don’t like broccoli.  And inadvertently teaching the kids that the standard of kid-eating is no veggies.  Then again, experts say toddler food aversions are natural and unavoidable. Who knows?

Those same experts say that parents need to expose a preschooler to any new food between five and ten times before they can tolerate the unfamiliar taste and texture.  So we have started making a concerted effort to include a vegetable on Cate’s plate at every dinner.  For new veggies, we stick with the “big girls try new foods” policy and insist that she takes a healthy bite.  For foods that we have already acclimated her to, she has to finish the small portion we give.  So far, we have gotten as far as baby carrots with… moderate success.

Bolthouse Farms French Dressing

All this to say, I have also attempted to have plates of cut up veggies on the table for Doc Hubby and me as well so we can model munching on crispy ruffage. And I’m gonna just say it, veggies remain a challenge for me too.  I eat them.  I don’t complain. But I’d rather have a dinner roll. So when the folks at Bolthouse Farms offered us bottles of four of their new yogurt-based salad dressings to try, I immediately said yes! Dipping fresh veggies in salad dressing, to me, is one of the best ways to turn ruffage into refinement!  I may sound like Nancy, but to me, dips make any food fancy. However, if you aren’t careful, dips and dressings are also a way to turn a healthy, low-cal snack into a fatty, sugary treat that may taste more palatable, but will eat up your precious daily calorie count in a flash.

Here’s the good news!  The Bolthouse Farms yogurt based dressings contain 55% less calories and 75% less fat than “leading brands” (ie. mayonnaise-based brands) and all come in at 45 calories per delicious serving.  We tried the Classic Ranch, Salsa Ranch, Zesty French, and Honey Mustard dressings and they were all super tasty.  I also dig that the dressings are all-natural with no preservatives, no artificial flavorings and no MSG. Doc Hubby has expressed a partiality for the Honey Mustard while I have to say the two Ranch offerings are my favorites.  Bean has yet to dip her miniscule carrot sticks in, but I think it’s only a matter of time.  Nutritionists say that offering your kids veggies with various dips to choose from is a great way to make eating fun.  And I like that we can model healthy eating, with delicious dressings that are lower calorie and lower fat while still being totally yummy.

After all, bathing suit season is (groan, moan, whine, complain, hide under a rock, start exercising…) on it’s way. Swapping fatty foods for leaner ones is a wise move as May approaches. Veggies for baby. Veggies for Mama and Daddy. Healthy bodies and balanced diets.

That’s something families definitely gotta have.

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