Mother’s Day Gift Guide For New Moms

by holli on April 24, 2014

NewMomI will never forget the young woman who saw me in the doctor’s office waiting for my son’s check-up. There wasn’t any drama, just me and my son sitting and waiting. He was about six months old and I carried him into the office using a sling. He was very wiggly and didn’t like sitting still. So, I got him out and played with him in my lap. The woman and I exchanged small talk until it was our turn to see the doctor.

When I was leaving the office, the receptionist gave me a note the young woman left for me. She wrote that she just wanted to let me know that I was doing a good job. She enjoyed seeing us interact in a positive way and it brightened her day.

There are some things about my first year as a Mother that I cherish. Then, there are those trying afternoons and long nights that seem like a nightmare that’s faded with time. And, there are those where I felt all alone and not good enough, but the time a stranger took a moment to write me an encouraging note made them sting a lot less.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide For New Moms

1) A letter of appreciation – It may sound corny, but words can go a long way to keeping her motivated. If you’re not part of the family directly (i.e. the husband, or baby’s Father), a card with a sincere note about something you admire in her parenting would be lovely, not just the printed greeting that comes with the card;)

2) Time to do something she loves alone - If the Mom is ready to let you take care of her baby, offer to give her a few hours to go do something she loves: see a movie, go to a book store, singing karaoke, etc.

3) Take Her Out  – Sometimes the hardest part of being a new Mom is feeling isolated or stuck at home. Offer to take her out of the house for tea, lunch or a walk through the park (yes, even with baby in tow).

4) A good book – It helps to read and hear about other parent’s experiences, not just how to books. A good story that’s funny or inspiring can mean a lot as her heart is entering a whole new relationship territory. And then there are books that motivate us and spark our creative side. No matter what kind of New Mom she is, here are my top 4 books to give them…

Here are a few of my favorites (yes, with affiliate links to Amazon):

One of my favorite Mom bloggers shares her story about how God changed her heart through Motherhood:

Almost the opposite type book for Mama’s who wear piercings and want a non-cookie cutter guide to Motherhood (so funny and helpful as a Mom who is a little bit crunchy):

Michael is not a Mother, but his work to be creative everyday has encouraged me since 2012. I love his book to prompt us to draw about our life:

A Photographer Mommy who struggled with depression and found a way to find joy! Her photographs are stunning, and this sweet little book is sure to put a smile on your face:

And, yes I have more ideas for those of us in the “veteran” Mom category! Stay tuned for another gift guide post…

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Earth Day’s New Meaning For Our Family

by holli on April 21, 2014

I’ll admit that in the past I thought Earth Day was just a nice idea. You know, it helps to make you pause and think, yeah, I should do better to reduce, reuse and recycle. Well, this year, it means more than ever before. My eyes have been forced open about all of the pollution in our environment since we found out my son has high levels of mercury and some lead in his blood.

I have learned that our way of living requires us to pump millions of pounds of Lead, Arsenic, Mercury and other harmful substances into the air. We have come a long way in the past 100 years, setting limits, then learning to set even tougher ones. The sad part is that not all countries are learning from our mistakes. The funny thing about air is that it moves. Once Mercury is vaporized, it travels along with the wind for an undetermined amount of time. So, basically, the factory in China may be distributing Mercury to the Mountains of Nevada. And, the old house by the creek that has old lead paint chipping off from the 1970′s is being washed away by the rain. That rain carries the lead into the creek, then into Puget Sound where it contaminates the Pacific Ocean.

It’s enough information to make me want to cry.

Looking up at inside a stump in the Redwood Forest near Humbolt Bay, California.

Looking up at inside a stump in the Redwood Forest near Humbolt Bay, California.

Instead, I’m motivated to learning more about our environment, local pollution sources, and ways we can make a difference in our home.  I know families who don’t own a car or a dryer. And one who lives completely off the grid (not relying on the power grid of a city or public utilities). We are not that dedicated, but are learning to make little changes that will hopefully make a difference. And, yes, I’ve become that parent that reminds the kids and the Man to turn off the lights in the room as they exit it!

Here are a few of the changes we have made to reduce, reuse and recycle:

1. Wrapping: We reuse gift bags and boxes! And, I have stopped buying wrapping paper. Instead we use brown mailing paper and I have the kids draw or doodle all over it. Or, I get the crayons out myself and have a little fun drawing a design.

2. Buying used: Books, clothes, even furniture! It only works if you can wait to find it, but you would be amazed at what you can buy used in new condition!

3. Bulk: we buy food in bulk whenever it makes sense. It cuts down on costs too:)

4. Planning errands: I know this sounds silly. Most parents already do this – considering where you are driving during the day and make the most use of your time on the road. For example, try doing all of your errands in one trip instead of going home, then out then home again.

5. Buying local: this means when possible we buy stuff locally, even if it’s more expensive. That in turn means we buy less! It’s good for the local economy and our bank account.

6. Planting smart: We have a small yard, and live in Seattle, so it’s naturally watered most of the year. I purposefully planted many drought tolerant plants so that we don’t have to water very much during the dryer months.

7. Upcycle: we reuse containers and things beyond what they were intended – for example, a Large Pickle Jar to hold legos or old coffee cup to house some herbs growing in the window sill.

8. Grow: By growing some vegetables and berries during the spring and summer, we have both reduced our food bill and our need for more produce to be shipping to the store.

What about you? How have you made changes to reduce, reuse and recycle in your home?

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The Cloud Makers Problem

April 11, 2014

When we were in Hawaii, my daughter saw a sugar processing plant billowing out large plumes of what looked like white clouds against the bright blue sky. She asked,”Are those cloud makers?” I wanted to tell her yes, because it was such a sweet observation. The plume did indeed look like clouds. But, the truth […]

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Recipe Inspiration: Vanilla Coconut Oil Coffee Creamer

April 7, 2014

While my mind has been consumed by tracking down the source of my son’s mercury and lead contamination, I have had little to no room for inspired recipe creations. During our visit to Port Angeles, I found myself with enough distance between my personal research and had a light-bulb moment while catching up with an […]

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