All posts by Jen Scott

About Jen Scott

I'm the mom of two energetic, happy, and delightful children. We currently live on the outskirts of Boston, where we enjoy exploring the many parks and playgrounds found in and around our neighborhood. I love to read and hope to instill that love in my children by making frequent trips to the library. I also knit in my spare time, but with two young children, spare time is a rarity. That's why I have 3 unfinished scarves and a barely started blanket in my closet.

Ways to Earn Cash Back for College

Now that both of my children are in school I’ve realized I need to start saving for their college educations. My oldest will be graduating high school in 10 years. While it seems far away, it takes time to save money. Even state college costs almost $20,000 per year—imagine how much more it will be a decade from now!

During my search to find a plan that won’t take too much work I came across Upromise. Signing up for an account is free so I decided to see what it was about, even though I assumed it wasn’t going to amount to much. After using Upromise, I realized I underestimated how much I can save for my kids, with almost no effort.

The basics are so easy. After signing up for an account I registered my credit and debit cards. All I’ve done is everything I do anyway—except now I’m getting between 3 and 10% of my purchases at over 10,000 partnered restaurants and stores back from Upromise for my children. I also get special eCoupons for things like Musselman applesauce and Cheerios—things I buy anyway—by linking my supermarket loyalty cards. Amazing.
Time is always an issue as a mom and online shopping is how I make most of my purchases.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vEG6ebfUQk[/embedyt]

If I access my favorite online shopping sites like amazon.com or kohls.com (just 2 of over 850 partner sites) through the Upromise site I instantly get between 3% and 5% back. If you’re like me and your memory isn’t what it used to be, load the RewardU toolbar onto your computer. It will alert you if the site you’re on has available cashback opportunities. You can also earn an additional $20 per year just by using the toolbar for your regular online searches. Free money? Yes please!

We’re planning a family vacation next summer. Thankfully Upromise is also partnered with most online travel sites and rental car companies. Vacations aren’t cheap and we’ll get up to 10% back. I’m looking forward to a big bump in my children’s savings account. I signed up with Upromise and they’re doing all of the work for me—it really doesn’t get any easier.

Baby sleeping with Owlet Monitor

Peace of Mind and a Good Night’s Sleep

This article sponsored by: Owletcare.com

I remember the first night I brought my son home. I was full of fear, angst, and an awareness that I would likely never sleep well again. Worrying about all of the worst possible scenarios was enough to get me out of bed every twenty minutes to check he was still breathing. I know I’m not the only parent to wake in a panic the first time their baby slept for several hours without interruption.

I still remember that deep fear of what you might find. Thankfully, my worries were always unfounded—but they were still there. When my first child was born eight years ago I know I would have been able to sleep soundly if there had been a product like Owlet available.

Owlet is a hypoallergenic Smart Sock your baby wears at bedtime. The Smart Sock is the only monitor to use the same type of technology hospitals use to check the heart rate and oxygen saturation of your little one. It’s called pulse oximetry and it’s in the clip they put on your finger when you go to the hospital.

If relying on an alert isn’t enough peace of mind, Owlet also connects to your smartphone and displays your baby’s live vitals. If you’re expecting a baby soon, or already have a newborn, this is the one product you shouldn’t go without.

Owlet is available through their website (www.owletcare.com). It’s a product with high demand so order yours soon.

Sweet potato

10 Thanksgiving Food Ideas for Baby

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s time to tempt everyone’s taste buds—even baby’s. If you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your pediatrician to give your baby solids, or you’ve got a toddler whose palate needs some expanding, these are some Thanksgiving foods your little one will love. Always gauge your baby’s eating abilities before trying anything new, and keep a close eye with new textures and consistencies.

1. Pumpkin Puree

a group of pumpkins

Autumn is when all of the best squashes are ready for eating—and nothing is better than pumpkin for Thanksgiving. A small sugar pumpkin is a great choice for pureeing. Slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cover both halves with foil. Bake at 325 for an hour or until the pumpkin is soft, then scoop out the meat and blend until desired consistency. For extra flavor add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and/or a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum!

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sliced sweet potato - studio shot

However you serve up sweet potatoes, make sure you share with your little one. Mashed sweet potatoes are delicious, easy to make, and great for baby. If your family prefers candied yams, be sure to mash them with the back of a fork before feeding them to your baby. Candied yams have a lot of sugar in them so go easy on servings for your wee one, too. Be careful with marshmallows on sweet potato casserole as the stickiness can be difficult for babies to cope with and whole marshmallows may pose a choking risk.

3. Acorn Squash

squash

These green and orange ripply-looking squashes are mild and nutty in flavor. Another easy squash to bake, acorn squash is also simple to prepare. Just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a dollop of butter (if dairy has been introduced to your baby’s diet) to the bowl-shaped area left behind. If you bake it at 350 for 30 minutes or until tender, you’ve got a delicious squash to puree, mash, or cube.

4. Spaghetti Squash

squash spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is one of the hardest squashes to cut, so you might want to bake this one whole—just be certain to pierce the outside several times otherwise it will explode in your oven! If you put the squash in the oven at 375 for an hour it will be much easier to cut in half lengthwise—be careful of steam, though. After removing the seeds use a fork to scrape the squash out along the length of each half to find out exactly why it’s called “spaghetti” squash. A drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt will brighten the flavor of this fun-to-eat squash.

5. Stuffing

A small casserole dish of cornbread stuffing on a rustic wooden table with autumn leaves and pine cones

Is there anything tastier than stuffing? Whatever bread base you opt for, stuffing is definitely the most delicious carb on the table. If you’re going to give your baby stuffing, be certain to prepare a serving separately and not cooked inside the bird; your adult immune system should be able to handle most potential bacteria left over from internal cooking, but your child’s immature gut might not be able to beat it.

6. Baked Apples

a dish of baked apples

The best way to bring out the natural sweetness of apples is by baking them. Core a few apples but leave the skin on for baking. Place them in a shallow baking pan with about an inch of water and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. The skin should slide off easily when done. Then you’re ready to mash, cube, or slice the baked apples for baby. They’re so good you might want to steal some for yourself.

7. Turkey

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey with All the Sides

Thanksgiving isn’t worth having if you don’t have some turkey on the table. Most pediatricians recommend waiting until 7 months to introduce meats, so for the youngest babies you might need to wait another year. For those who are ready for meats, avoid feeding skin and bones as they can be choking hazards. Offer up strips, small cubes, or shreds of turkey if your little one is a self-feeders, or for the younger set try mashing up a small amount of turkey with a bit of breast milk or formula to make it easier to eat.

8. String Beans

Green beans in a basket with a wagon wheel in the background

String beans are delicious any time of year, but they’re usually a featured veggie on Thanksgiving tables, too. These long, green beans are a perfect finger food for bigger kids, and when cooked to a soft consistency they’re great for smaller kids, too. Be sure to avoid giving nuts to your little one so look out for green bean almandine.

9. Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a true comfort food and a wonderful Thanksgiving food for baby—as long as any big lumps have been mashed out. Once again you need to be mindful of dairy for the under-one set—if your tot can’t have dairy, pull some potatoes aside and mix them with breast milk or formula instead.

10. Pumpkin Pie

a pumpkin pie

Okay, we’re starting and finishing this list with pumpkin, because, Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie is the perfect sweet treat for your little one to top off their feast with. Sweet, creamy, and delicious, pumpkin pie is great and easy for little ones to eat. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

a baby sleeping on a pumpkin

10 Ways to Celebrate Baby’s First Thanksgiving

It’s your baby’s first Thanksgiving—so you have more than usual to be thankful for this year. This is the time to start new traditions, introduce your baby to old ones, and enjoy this holiday with your new family. We’ve come up with some ways to make sure your baby’s first Thanksgiving will be a memory you’ll treasure forever.

1. Have a Photo Shoot

a baby sleeping next to a pumpkin

Whether you choose a professional shoot with a photographer or you just snap some photos at home, you’re going to want to capture these memories. Pick a cute outfit with lots of oranges, browns, and yellows to capture the colors of fall. Pumpkins, fallen leaves, and fall flowers like mums all make great props.

2. Make a Family Video

a couple with a video camera

Take a few minutes to capture a video of your baby on Thanksgiving. If you can get a shot of your baby reacting to the giant turkey, or a few seconds of baby napping on somebody’s overstuffed food belly, you’ll have video gold. Ask each person to say a message to your baby for the future, too, so he’ll enjoy watching it for years to come.

3. Make a Pumpkin Craft

thanksgiving craft ideas

Our friends at Learn Create Love have an adorable idea—pumpkin thumb prints! If you keep a few in a safe place for next year you can make them again and compare the size of your little one’s thumb. Why not make it an annual tradition?

4. Bring Family Together

Family gathering at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is all about togetherness, so bring your family together. If there are relatives your baby hasn’t met, or doesn’t see often, make sure to invite them by or go to them. If you’re too far away to be together in person, then make an appointment to Skype with family. Family is important, and it never hurts to have more people who love and adore your children almost as much as you do.

5. Make a “Thankful Tree”

a thankful tree

Another fun craft from Learn Create Love is The Thankful Tree. This is another chance for you to have a craft you can make annually that will not only show much your baby has grown, but as she develops language you’ll have fun and cute snapshots of what she loves most at each stage. For this year you can make leaves for what you’re thankful for, of course.

 

6. Choose a Special Outfit

a baby clothes outfit

There are lots of adorable options for a special outfit, like this set from juDanzy. Go to your favorite shop or look around online for an adorable themed outfit. Part of the fun of having a baby is getting to dress him up in cute outfits, so why not?

7. Watch the Macy’s Parade

the macy's thanksgiving parade

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition for many families. The enormous balloons are fun to watch, and even the smallest family member can enjoy the musical numbers and colorful sights. If you live within driving distance of New York City, you might want to go in person, but if not, the best seat view of the parade is from your couch anyway. Start traditions now for your baby to look forward to each year.

8. Update the Baby Book

a baby book

Pull out your baby book and write about what your life has been like since your baby arrived. Write a letter to her about how much you love her, how thankful you are that she’s here, and what you hope her life will be like by next Thanksgiving. If you have other family around, ask them to jot a note with their loving thoughts, too.

9. Get a Fun Bib

a baby wearing a bib for dinner

Whether you’ve chosen to get a festive new outfit for baby or not, you’re still going to want to protect her outfit—so why not make it a special holiday bib? You can find turkey and Thanksgiving bibs at most baby clothing stores, or you can find some special fabric at the store and make one of your own. Either way, it will add to the fun and make for cute pictures.

10. Try Some New Foods

Roasted turkey on a server tray garnished with fresh figs, grape, kumquat, and herbs on fall harvest table. Red wine, side dishes, pie, and gravy. Decoraded with mini pumpkins, candels, and flowers.

If your baby has gotten the OK from his doctor to start solid foods, Thanksgiving is a great time to introduce some new tastes and textures. Check out this gallery which has 10 delicious Thanksgiving foods for baby that your little one may enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Spermatozoons, floating to ovule

10 Amazing Things that Happen During Pregnancy

Most people know the basics of pregnancy, but do you know some of the more in-depth and amazing things that happen inside your body when you’re pregnant? We’ve picked 10 of the most impressive things that happen during pregnancy to share with you. There really is so much more to it than you realize!

1. Conception

Spermatozoons, floating to ovule - 3d render

As sperm meets egg and cells begin to divide you are in the earliest stages of being pregnant. If your pregnancy was achieved the old-fashioned way, sperm swam through your uterus and into your fallopian tubes to find a single tiny egg (unless you’re expecting fraternal multiples). That two microscopic cells can find each other inside your body is really amazing. If you conceived with scientific help, that’s equally as amazing for different reasons. Either way, conception is a mind-blowing and truly random kind of miracle.

2. Implantation

ultrasound of baby in pregnant woman

Now that your baby-to-be is a rapidly dividing ball of cells, it’s traveling through your fallopian tubes and into your uterus. Your uterus has been building up a lining of blood for the last few weeks on the off chance that a little ball might make its way down and implant. If you’re pregnant, that means that it did. The odds seem stacked against a little speck of cells just happening to settle in and attach itself to the inside of your body in just the right place. Again—amazing and miraculous.

3. Humans have Yolks, Too!

Eggs and Egg yolk in paper tray on wood

After your baby implants, but before the placenta has formed, how does he get the nourishment to grow? It turns out that even humans have yolks. The yolk sac forms and provides nutrition and early blood circulation. By about 12 weeks of development the placenta will begin to work so the yolk sac will be absorbed and eventually become part of your baby’s gut.

4. You Grow a New Organ

an embryo in the womb

There are so many incredible things about the placenta—like, it’s the only organ that you grow and then get rid of when you’re done with it. While your baby is growing, the placenta acts as a liver, lungs, and kidneys for the baby, and as an endocrine system for both of you. Since the placenta is made of about 50% maternal cells and 50% fetal cells, it’s a joint effort that keeps both of you running until the birth.

5. Your Body Creates an Antibacterial Barrier

Abstract background like green blood vessels.

The opening from your vagina into your uterus is called the cervix—and it never fully closes. When you’re pregnant it is obviously not good for bacteria to get into your uterus, but how do you do that when there isn’t a natural closing? To help protect the baby and placenta, your body creates a seal called the mucus plug. The mucus plug contains antimicrobial agents to deter passage of harmful germs, keeping your baby safe.

6. Your Breasts are No Longer Just for Show

Portrait of an attractive young woman clutching her chest in discomfort isolated on white

After about two months of pregnancy you’ll start to notice that your breasts are getting fuller or larger. When you’re pregnant, part of your body’s preparation for baby is getting your breasts ready for nursing. You’ll likely notice that your areolas become darker—which is great because newborns have really bad vision; the contrast makes them easier for baby to find. Many expecting moms also find that colostrum begins to leak a bit, resulting in a strange (but totally normal) crust forming on nipples or inside of bras.

7. Your Pelvis “Relaxes”

a pregnant woman holding her back

OK, there’s so much going on down there right now it’s impossible to imagine your pelvis is doing anything other than freaking out, but, a hormone named Relaxin is already working on loosening things up. In order for your baby to have enough wiggle room to pass through your pelvis your joints need to stretch out a bit. Relaxin helps pelvic ligaments stretch enough to let baby through more easily when the time comes.

8. Your Uterus is Practicing for the Big Day

educational model of an unborn baby in the womb

While most people assume that contractions only happen during labor, your uterus has been practicing all along. Braxton Hicks contractions can start as early as six weeks into pregnancy—though it’s unlikely you’ll feel any of them until the second or third trimester. Practice contractions may help your uterine tone, but are unlikely to have any effect on your cervix. If they become painful or are accompanied by bleeding, call your doctor, otherwise, try to relax—they usually only last for a minute.

9. Your Cervix Might Already Be Dilating

Pregnant Asian Mom with Nurse

As you reach the end of your pregnancy you know that labor will happen soon (but not soon enough, right?). As you’ve read in every baby book and seen in movies, the big moment everyone is waiting for is for you to be dilated to ten centimeters (almost four inches). What most people never mention is that dilation can happen well before labor. It isn’t unusual for women to stay two or three centimeters dilated during the last month of pregnancy. The relatively large size of your baby’s head and the fact that your cervix hasn’t begun to thin out, or efface, is what keeps everything in place.

10. You Go Into Labor

a pregnant woman leaning on an excercise ball

Women have been having babies forever, but we’re still not sure what exactly causes real labor contractions to begin. It’s thought that it might be something in the baby’s brain that triggers a chain reaction of hormones that start real uterine contractions—but nobody is absolutely certain how it works. All we know is that at the end of it, your baby is born, and all of the amazing things your body has gone through during the last nine months are what got her here.

Woman Sitting On Bed And Feeling Unwell

10 Ways to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

Everyone knows sleep is hard to come by after baby arrives. But pregnant women face challenges getting their zzz’s as well. Fluctuating hormones, an expanding belly, and a host of other issues can interfere with a mama-to-be’s circadian rhythms. But better sleep while pregnant is possible, here’s how.

1. Quell Nausea

Woman Sitting On Bed And Feeling Unwell

For some mamas, the achiness and nausea of morning sickness (which unfortunately might occur at any hour of the day) can interfere with a good night’s sleep. To help you through it, stash crackers and water or juice on your bedside table. That way you can try to soothe your stomach without the disruption of leaving your bed.

2. Get Regular Exercise

a pregnant mom carrying a yoga mat

Unless your doctor advises against it, you should exercise regularly: think light 30-minute daily workouts. Exercising in the morning, afternoon, and early evening can help you sleep better at night. But avoid working out late in the evening, as this exertion could cause insomnia.

3. Be Smart About Fluids

Young pregnant woman drinking a glass of water in her kitchen while holding her belly

Pregnant women are famous for their midnight trips to the bathroom, particularly in the first and third trimesters. It’s important to drink a lot of hydrating liquids when you’re expecting. But for your best sleep, you’ll want to limit your fluid intake after 6 pm. And keep the caffeinated drinks to the morning hours only, or you might still be affected by the stimulant come bedtime.

4. Take Short Naps

a pregnant woman sleeping

Pregnancy can be exhausting, especially in the first trimester when your progesterone levels are peaking and your body is diverting all energy to your baby. Try to sneak in an afternoon nap, preferably between 2 and 4 pm when your body is likely hitting a drop in your circadian sleep cycle. Short 30- or 45-minute naps are better than longer ones, which might actually make you feel more tired overall.

5. Utilize Pillows

a pregnant woman lying on a pillow

Pillows might be a pregnant woman’s best friend. You probably know you can’t sleep on your back after 20 weeks and that snoozing on your left side maximizes the oxygen flow to your baby. Try tucking a pillow in between your legs once you’ve settled yourself on your side; it will help ease any lower-back pain you might be experiencing. A pillow under your belly or a full-body pillow can also provide support and bear some of the weight of your growing bod.

6. Talk to Your Doctor

a pregnant woman being checked by a doctor

If you’re finding yourself snoring and severely, speak to your doctor. Some women, especially those who start out their pregnancies on the heavier side, develop sleep apnea during their pregnancies. Let your doctor know if you’ve started snoring or if you find yourself waking yourself up to breathe. Your doctor might prescribe the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to make sure you and the baby are getting enough oxygen.

7. Nix Heartburn

a pregnant woman suffering from heartburn

Heartburn is the bane of many a pregnant woman’s sleep routine. The increasing size of the uterus can crowd the stomach and push acid up the esophagus, which doesn’t make for pleasant sleeping conditions! Aim to eat a small dinner at least four hours before lying down to give your body enough time to digest, and consider sleeping with your torso slightly propped up to let gravity do its job on stomach acid. And avoid eating spicy, fried, and acidic foods.

8. Try to Relax

a pregnant woman resting on a bed

Feeling anxious over becoming a mom? That common worry and the many others mamas experience can lead to wild, sleep-disrupting dreams and insomnia. Focus on relaxing your mind and body in the hours before bedtime. Prenatal yoga, meditation, a warm bath, an evening stroll, or reading are a few soothing activities that can help ease anxiety and create a sense of calm and (hopefully) sleepiness.

9. Head Off Leg Cramps

a pregnant woman eating a salad

Leg cramps are common in pregnant women, and some mamas even report developing restless leg syndrome (RLS). Since nothing disrupts a good night’s sleep faster than a twitchy calf, it’s best to take preventative measures against them. Eating foods rich in iron, folate, and calcium can help head off leg cramps. You’ll also want to go easy on the carbonated beverages, including soda water, as they can interfere with your body’s calcium absorption and lead to cramps.

10. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

a pregnant woman sleeping in a bed

Do whatever it takes to set yourself up for pregnancy sleep success! Install a nightlight in your hallway or bathroom so you don’t have to turn on the eye-opening overhead with every trip to the potty. Keep a journal on your nightstand to jot down any worries that might wake you up, and promise yourself to think about them in the morning. A fan can keep cool air flowing on a queasy body. And if you find that the only place you’re comfortable conking out is in the overstuffed chair in the living room, then start considering that your new bedroom. You’re growing another life, mama. You sleep wherever and whenever you can!

a dog playing with a young child

10 Dog Breeds That Are Great With Kids

Dogs are a wonderful addition to any family. If you’re planning to start a family, or already have children, you may be concerned about which breed might be a good fit. We’ve picked 10 breeds that are known for their ability to bond well with children.

Always do your research to make sure that your activity levels and climate are a good match for whichever breed you choose, and enjoy your new fur baby.

1. Pug

a Pug dog

Pugs are sweet, goofy, adorable little dogs who love to play and snuggle. For families who are looking for a smaller dog, pugs make a great choice. If you’re looking for a dog that can play for hours on end and run around all summer, a pug is not the best choice—their smooshed faces and redundant soft palates make it hard to breathe in the heat—but their loving nature and sturdy build make them a great choice as a calm family pet.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Another smaller dog that is a good choice for families with young children is the Cavalier. These affectionate dogs were bred to be lap dogs for British royalty, so they do best with a family who is happy to give them lots of attention. They are sweet and loyal dogs that can easily have daily bouts of energetic play, but are always up for a snuggle. While they are considered a toy breed they are one of the largest breeds with this designation—making them sturdy enough for a busy household.

3. English Bulldog

Baby and puppy of english bulldog on red blancket isolated on white

These roly-poly dogs have been purposely bred with a focus on phasing out aggressive traits. English Bulldogs are stoic and affectionate dogs who develop deep bonds with their families—particularly children. Though not an especially energetic breed, they are loyal and devoted. While they are short, they are stocky and strong, making them a good choice if you’re looking for a medium-sized dog.

4. Beagle

Beagle

For the family looking for a small, strong, and high-energy dog, the Beagle is your perfect fit. While Beagles need lots of exercise and activity to keep them happy, they have a soft, loving, affectionate side that helps them fit well with even young children. However, due to their natural curiosity and their highly attuned sense of smell, a fenced yard or a dedicated run line is imperative for their own safety.

5. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Always one of the most popular family dogs, Labrador Retrievers can fit with families of all energy levels. Young Labs are often silly and sweet, but have higher energy levels and need more activity. Older Labs are typically mellow and happy to laze around waiting for tummy rubs. Labs can be prone to hip dysplasia, so if it all possible, find if their parents have been Penn Hip certified or have had other orthopedic checks. They also have a penchant for overeating, so monitoring their diets will keep them from becoming extra-pudgy.

6. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are known for their long, flowing coats and their friendly temperaments. Upkeep on their coats is a necessity as they tend to get mats near their tails and chests if not brushed regularly, so teach your children young how to gently brush the dog. Goldens are sweet and patient dogs which make them pros around kids. They need a lot of activity, but they’re exceptionally playful and are pros at playing fetch.

7. Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle

While all poodles (standard, miniature, and toy) are technically the same breed only differentiated by size, we like the sturdy standard size for a family with young children. Poodles are considered the smartest dog breed (surprise!) and they’re playful, affectionate dogs, too. Their coats need regular grooming so they’re not a low-maintenance breed, but their serious smarts and friendliness make the extra care worthwhile.

8. Boxer

a boxer dog

Boxers are rugged medium-sized dogs who tend to have a strong devotion to their family. Boxers are a great breed if you want a dog that will be loving and gentle with your kids while being wary of strangers. They’re an energetic breed so they’ll need lots of activity and play to keep them from developing bad habits around the home.

9. Newfoundland

a Newfoundland dog

If you’re looking for a big dog, the Newfoundland is for you. These giants are sweet, loving, and highly adaptable. While you wouldn’t expect a large dog to happily adjust to apartment-living, Newfies are low enough energy that they’re happy to hang out anywhere. Good-natured Newfoundlands are natural swimmers who don’t do well with high temperatures, so families who live in hotter climates would do well to find a dog better suited to their area—unless they have a pool they’re happy to skim dog hair out of daily.

10. The Mutt

A cute young boy and girl sitting and holding a mixed breed dog while looking forward at the camera

While you’ll never know what exactly you’re going to wind up with when you take on a mutt, you can’t forget that sometimes the best dog breed is no breed (or every breed). Mutts are often stronger and healthier than purebreds due to hybrid vigor. Be sure to temperament test any puppy by trying to gently hold them on their backs (they should be relaxed and not struggle), shaking your keys (they shouldn’t be freaked out by noises or sudden motions), and by trying to take a treat away from them (there should be no signs of food aggression). If your potential pup passes these tests you should feel happy knowing that whatever breed you get, your dog is going to have a good attitude.

oak tree leaf

Lockdown in Boston

This morning I looked out the window and noticed the giant oak tree finally bloomed overnight. I was so excited to get the day started and go on a nature adventure with my two children, ages five and two. It’s spring break for the public schools here in Massachusetts, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep my son entertained during his week away from school.

As the kids and I were starting our day, I noticed I had a lot of Facebook notifications. Since it’s not my birthday today, I knew something had to be up. A lot of friends were checking in to make sure that we were safe and away from the areas around Boston that are currently under siege. Thankfully we aren’t in the thick of it, but not so far away that it’s worth risking the safety of my children. Nature walk cancelled due to suspected terrorist.

Since my children are so young, I’ve been sneaking online to get updates. I haven’t had the news on at all since the first incident. I can’t shield them from reality for too much longer, but while I can, I will.

Despite the weather being warm and inviting, the streets are empty. We’re on our second episode of Max and Ruby. I think Sesame Street is next on my list. My daughter is wearing her special princess costume, and my son and I are snuggling on the couch in our pajamas even though it’s almost three in the afternoon. It’s not how I wanted the day to go, but we’re safe, we’re together, and my children’s blissful ignorance is blessedly intact.

Celebrity Baby Alert: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Have you heard the news?  Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are having a baby!

Following her sister Kourtney’s, lead, Kim Kardashian is going to be a mom. Kourtney has two children, Mason and Penelope, with boyfriend Scott Disick. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been together for about 9 months. Although Kardashian was married to Kris Humphries in 2011, they did not have children.

Many people are expressing sympathy for third Kardashian sister, Khloe. In the past, unconfirmed rumors have spread that she is having difficulty conceiving, and has possibly suffered a miscarriage in the past. Khloe is married to NBA star Lamar Odom.

What are your thoughts on this latest celebrity mating? Do you think Kanye and Kim will keep the “K” tradition going, or will they follow their own path? Are you excited for this new mega-star baby-to-be, or are you left wondering, “what’s the fascination with celebrity babies?” Tell us what you think!

 

Pregnant And Puking

Have you ever had to deal with chronic morning sickness? Did your OB prescribe medication, or did you live on saltines and ginger ale for the entire first trimester? I didn’t have a problem with morning sickness, but some of my friends did, and I know it can make pregnancy miserable, as well as worrying. Pills or no pills? Is there a more natural way to stop the nausea? Am I gaining enough weight? Etc.

If this is your experience, and you can commiserate with a mom-to-be whose doc has prescribed meds, post your tips and experiences here – or click through to get advice from moms who beat the vomit comet, with or without meds: community.mom365.com