Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow ~ Review & Giveaway

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

The Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow is the first two-sided nursing pillow with a vibrating feature. The Firm2Soft™ two-sided construction is uniquely designed to offer distinct benefits on each side. The firm side offers enhanced back support during nursing and just the right elevation for baby. The soft side creates the perfect environment for baby to relax.

Breastfeeding Bryce (4 months) using the mombo
This nursing pillow is so much more versatile than other pillows on the market. It is thicker and firmer. The rounded, plush side is great for placing babies in a variety of positions. The smooth side sits flat on either a hard surface, piece of furniture (with close supervision), or mommy's lap while nursing. The vibrating feature is very relaxing/soothing for little ones to nap after being fed.

Bryce lounging in his mombo at 2 months
Bryce at 3 months cuddling on the mombo with his sister Lydia
Bryce doing tummy time in the mombo at 3 months

Bryce relaxing in the mombo at 4 months
My son Bryce really loves tummy time. I like to place a blanket on the floor, the mombo on top, and position him on his belly. It's a great way for him to strengthen all his neck muscles and work on his head control.

BUY IT! The Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow in the Taggies™ Fashion is sold exclusively at Babies R Us and retails for $49.99

WIN IT! This giveaway is for a Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow in the Taggies™ Fashion with colorful, silky tags in all the right places for little hands to touch and explore soothes and comforts baby.  Superior plush fabrics and unique detailed appliqués offer a sweet and cozy environment.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amy's Review ~ Gluten-Free Organic Sandwich Rounds

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Amy's, the nation's top-selling brand of natural and organic convenience foods, is pleased to announce a new product for the gluten-free community: Organic Sandwich Rounds. Made with rice flour, these light and thin sandwich rounds are perfect with Veggie Burgers or your favorite sandwich fillings (SRP $6.95/8 rounds). Soy free, dairy free and gluten free. *Allergen alert: This product contains sunflower seeds.

Here are a few of the things that I love about these sandwich rounds:
1. Each box contains 8 rounds. They can be used to make open-face sandwiches (or pair two together for a regular sandwich).
2. We eat with our eyes first. Visually, these looked moist and had a toasty appearance. They are larger than the other sandwich rounds I have seen on the market.
3. The sandwich rounds had a nice earthy flavor to them. Great for a variety of sandwiches!
4. They are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. When I initially saw the box, I thought "Is it relevant that bread is dairy free?" but then I purchased some pre-made pizza crust recently and saw that it was made with cheese, so it is important to check to see what's in your bread before making any assumptions.
5. These can be stored in the freezer, removing one at a time when you are ready to eat it.
6. They're organic!

I decided to experiment with these sandwich rounds by making my own breakfast sandwich. I do not do fast food, so this was a nice alternative to those high-fat, high-calorie sandwiches you can grab at a drive-thru. I made mine an open-face sandwich with a sausage patty, scrambled egg, and sharp cheddar cheese. Delicious!

To learn more about Amy's delicious options for all different diets (e.g. vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan), visit the Amy's website and Facebook page

* I received the aforementioned product for free to review. The opinions expressed are honest and provided without monetary compensation.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Farm Fresh Food & Fun

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

While the rest of the country is freezing their butts off, we actually get a month or two of really beautiful weather in South Florida. That's when I like to get off my butt and do something really fun outdoors. This past weekend, we went to some of our favorite places: Bedner's and the Girl's Strawberry Patch. They are about 40 minutes north of us, but so worth the drive.

Bedner's is both a you-pick farm and farmer's market. They had beautiful tomatoes and peppers to pick. Lydia had a fun time looking for the right color peppers and tomatoes (we told her not to pick the green ones, just the red - she did a pretty good job). Bryce enjoyed resting in Richard's Ergo. After picking our fresh fruits/veggies, we enjoyed some delicious BBQ. Lydia liked the brisket and corn on the cob. I liked the baked beans and collard greens. Richard liked it all!
Then we went to the Girl's Strawberry Patch. I've posted about it before - it's this crazy place behind a somewhat run-down looking strip plaza. The front is an old-time candy store and ice cream parlor. Behind it, though, is this huge hydroponic you-pick with animals (donkeys, tortoises, rabbits, geese), statues, trees, antique cars, and all sorts of stuff! We picked some awesome strawberries and green beans...and shared some delicious birthday cake-flavored ice cream. 
Lydia picking strawberries
I made some scrumptious menu items with our fresh produce. Here are just a few!
From-scratch vanilla cupcakes, whipped cream, and strawberries 

Caprese salad with freshly-made pesto

Whole wheat crepe with strawberries and chocolate ganache

Monday, January 2, 2012

You have to know where you came from to know where you're going...

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

My sister and I often have debates about parenting. She comes from the perspective of a nurse, former preschool teacher, and stepmother. I come from the perspective of special education teacher and mother of two. I decided today to try to find something in my old LiveJournal, and I came across this entry. It's from June 10th, 2008...sounds exactly like something my sister would write today (and, ironically, she's the same age I was then). Here goes:

While I am not yet a parent, I have contributed to the development of more children than most people who are parents, so I feel somewhat fit to have opinions on the matter. I've also coached/counseled many parent over the last 10 years. So...I'll actually start by saying that I agree with something my sister said. She was at Babies R Us buying a shower gift for one of her close friends. She talked to me about the experience and made a really good point...everyone spends SO MUCH MONEY on baby things: furniture, clothing, toys, etc. but how many of thoe parents spend that kind of time and effort on their children when they're not babies? When they're toddlers, elementary-age, middle/high school-age? I was given formula. Do I think my mom was selfish for this or made a poor decision? Not at all. Research suggests that women who breastfeed have children with higher IQs. My IQ doesn't need to be any higher...all that would do is separate me more from the rest of the population. Perhaps women who breastfeed are also women who have intelligent husbands who earn a good living for the family, allowing the women to have the luxury of staying at home, spending countless hours breastfeeding? To accurately evaluate this, you'd have to have two identical groups and a very large sample size. In addition, I have had students who were mentally handicapped whose mothers did breastfeed, so I just don't see this research as being significant. As Richard says, correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

 What I think IS important, that people don't consider from the moment the child is shaping appropriate behaviors. Things are "cute" when a child is little...a little reaching for mommy's hair and pulling, putting inappropriate things in his/her mouth, etc. Boundaries should be set, I believe, early on. Maybe this is my "teacher perspective" - something my mom is always accusing me of having. But I have a co-worker whose baby, by about 4 months, was accurately using multiple manual signs to make requests, evidenced by the baby's satisfaction when her requested wants/needs were met. How great is that? To teach communication at 4 months of age? I began saying words, that my mom thinks were meaningful, at just a few months old. At one, I was putting two words together to create phrases (my famous "me make-up.") Did breastfeeding help me to do this? No. I guess I can almost say my mom's appropriate reinforcement of my behaviors is what helped.

I remember when we had the big hurricane here almost 3 yrs ago, I was with Kayla and Kyra and they were bored to tears with no electricity...and I got out paper and markers and we made silly paper hats and I entertained them for a long time with that...something so simple. THAT is what parenting is all about. It's about time, creativity, encouragement, introduction of skills at a young age, and reinforcement of desirable behaviors. I have thought a lot about this because:
1. I have two pregnant co-workers I am close to.
2. Two of my friends growing up are now mothers.
3. I feel the pressure of a biological clock ticking.
4. I am trying to figure out what to do with my I want children? My own? Adopted? Richard isn't too thrilled with the adoption idea...but damn...I don't know if I want his grandmother's genetics mixed with my crazy family's genetics! ;)
 5. With my new business, I need to start thinking more about these things because I want the family involvement portion to play a role in the therapy sessions. I know that I really encourage time and attention and development of appropriate behaviors with my students' families and I would continue to do so with my private business. It's just a lot to think about...and the idea of burning out on the baby decisions is scary. I'd want to make sure I have lots of stamina before embarking on that kind of journey.

Funny, right?? The saying goes "Money changes everything" but I think it's really time that changes everything.
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