Encouragement for Healthier Eating

Hey gals!

I thought you might enjoy having this podcast "from the vault" on the subject of healthier eating. Most of us are gearing up to eat healthier as part of our New Year Resolutions, so hopefully this will give you some practical, no-fail ideas for getting started!

Click here to go listen to the show

You Don't Want to Miss This

Hey everybody!

I hope you had a great Christmas and that you are gearing up for a fabulous 2009. I sure am!

I wanted to let you know that on January 1 all of my newsletter subscribers will be able to get a fabulous free gift from me. This is something that has NEVER been a freebie before, costs a good bit of money when purchased at the regular price, and you cannot get it anywhere else. You simply will not want to miss getting this! So, if you are not yet signed up on the NEW newsletter service, please take a couple of seconds to sign up (to the upper left of this page). Feel free to tell your friends and spread the word. People will LOOOVE getting this goodie completely FREE, but that deal is only good for one day.

Also, when you get set up with the new newsletter service you'll also be eligible to purchase anything (and everything) in stock at sale prices til the end of 2008. You can stock up on your favorite goodies, future gifts, vitamins, and energy boosters right now and help me clear off the shelves before I have to pay taxes on everything in stock at the end of the year. :) (My loss--your gain)

Have fun!

Why Short Cat-Naps Are Not Good Enough

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution

If your child’s naps are shorter than an hour and a half in length, you may have wondered if these brief naps provide enough rest for your little one. You might suspect that these catnaps aren’t meeting your child’s sleep needs – and you would be right. The science of sleep explains why a short nap takes the edge off, but doesn’t offer the same physical and mental nourishment that a longer nap provides.

It takes between 90 and 120 minutes for your child to move through one entire sleep cycle, resulting in a Perfect Nap. It has been discovered that each stage of sleep brings a different benefit to the sleeper. Imagine, if you will, magic gifts that are awarded at each new stage of sleep:

Stage 1 - Very light sleep

Lasts 5 to 15 minutes

The gifts:

Prepares body for sleep

Reduces feelings of sleepiness

Stage 2 - Light to moderate sleep

Lasts up 15 minutes

The gifts:

Increases alertness

Improves motor skills

Stabilizes mood

Slightly reduces homeostatic sleep pressure (The biological process that creates fatigue and irritability.)

Stage 3 - Deep sleep

Lasts up to 15 minutes

The gifts:

Strengthens memory

Release of growth hormone

Repair of bones, tissues and muscles

Fortification of immune system

Regulates appetite

Releases bottled up stress

Restores energy

Reduces homeostatic sleep pressure

Stage 4 – Deepest sleep

Lasts up to 15 minutes

The gifts:

Same benefits as Stage 3, but enhanced

Next Stage – Dreaming

Lasts up to 9 to 30 minutes

The gifts:

Transfers short-term memory into long-term memory

Organizes thoughts

Secures new learning

Enhances brain connections

Sharpens visual and perceptual skills

Processes emotions

Relieves stress

Inspires creativity

Boosts energy

Reduces homeostatic sleep pressure

Longer naps

For as long as your child sleeps

The gifts:

Repeat all of the above stages in cycles

In order for your child to receive all of these wonderful gifts he must sleep long enough to pass at least once through each stage of sleep. Longer naps will encompass additional sleep cycles and provide a continuous presentation of gifts.

Newborn babies have unique cycles that slowly mature over time. A newborn sleep cycle is about 40 to 60 minutes long, and an infant enters dream sleep quickly, skipping several sleep stages. Infants need several sleep cycles to receive their full allotment of gifts. If your infant is sleeping only 40-60 minutes at naptime it is an indication that your baby is waking between cycles instead of returning to sleep on his own. We’ll cover a plethora of ideas to help your baby learn to go back to sleep without your intervention.

Now you can clearly see why a short nap doesn’t provide your baby or young child the best benefits of napping. You can also see why a mini-nap can fool you into thinking it is enough – since the very first five to fifteen minutes reduce feelings of sleepiness and bring that whoosh of second-wind energy that dissipates quickly, resulting is fussiness, crying, crankiness, tantrums and whining.


This is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, December 2008). Used with permission.

First-Born Jealousy

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution and Gentle Baby Care

Question: Our first-born is showing extreme jealousy towards the new baby. He’s obviously mad at us for disrupting the predictable flow of his life with this new challenger for our attention. How can we smooth things out?

Think about it: Before the baby entered your family, your toddler was told he’d have a wonderful little brother to play with, and how much fun it would be. Then the little brother is born and your toddler is thinking, “Are you kidding me? This squirming, red-faced baby that takes up all your time and attention is supposed to be FUN?” He then “plays” with the baby in the only ways he knows how. He plays catch. You yell at him for throwing toys at the baby. He plays hide-and-seek. You yell at him to get the blanket off the baby. He gives the kid a hug, and you admonish him to be more careful. Is it any wonder that your toddler is confused?

Teach: Your first goal is to protect the baby. Your second, to teach your older child how to interact with his new sibling in proper ways. You can teach your toddler how to play with the baby in the same way you teach him anything else. Talk to him, demonstrate, guide and encourage. Until you feel confident that you’ve achieved your second goal, however, do not leave the children alone together. Yes, I know. It isn’t convenient. But it is necessary, maybe even critical.

Hover: Whenever the children are together, “hover” close by. If you see your child about to get rough, pick up the baby and distract the older sibling with a song, a toy, an activity or a snack. This action protects the baby while helping you avoid a constant string of “Nos,” which may actually encourage the aggressive behavior.

Teach soft touches: Teach the older sibling how to give the baby a back rub. Tell how this kind of touching calms the baby, and praise the older child for a job well done. This lesson teaches the child how to be physical with the baby in a positive way.

Act quickly: Every time you see your child hit, or act roughly with the baby, act quickly. You might firmly announce, “No hitting, time out.” Place the child in a time-out chair with the statement, “You can get up when you can use your hands in the right way.” Allow him to get right up if he wants – as long as he is careful and gentle with the baby. This isn’t punishment, after all. It’s just helping him learn that rough actions aren’t going to be permitted.

Demonstrate: Children learn what they live. Your older child will be watching as you handle the baby and learning from your actions. You are your child’s most important teacher. You are demonstrating in everything you do, and your child will learn most from watching you.

Praise: Whenever you see the older child touching the baby gently, make a positive comment. Make a big fuss about the important “older brother.” Hug and kiss your older child and tell him how proud you are.

Watch your words: Don’t blame everything on the baby. “We can’t go to the park; the baby’s sleeping.” “Be quiet, you’ll wake the baby.” “After I change the baby I’ll help you.” At this point, your child would just as soon sell the baby! Instead, use alternate reasons. “My hands are busy now.” “We’ll go after lunch.” “I’ll help you in three minutes.”

Be supportive: Acknowledge your child’s unspoken feelings, such as “Things sure have changed with the new baby here. It’s going to take us all some time to get used to this.” Keep your comments mild and general. Don’t say, “I bet you hate the new baby.” Instead, say, “It must be hard to have Mommy spending so much time with the baby.” or “I bet you wish we could go to the park now, and not have to wait for the baby to wake up.” When your child knows that you understand her feelings, she’ll have less need to act up to get your attention.

Give extra love: Increase your little demonstrations of love for your child. Say extra I love yous, increase your daily dose of hugs, and find time to read a book or play a game. Temporary regressions or behavior problems are normal, and can be eased with an extra dose of time and attention.

Get ‘em involved: Teach the older sibling how to be helpful with the baby or how to entertain the baby. Let the older sibling open the baby gifts and use the camera to take pictures of the baby. Teach him how to put the baby’s socks on. Let him sprinkle the powder. Praise and encourage whenever possible.

Making each feel special: Avoid comparing siblings, even about seemingly innocent topics such as birth weight, when each first crawled or walked, or who had more hair! Children can interpret these comments as criticisms.

Take a deep breath and be calm. This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards, and focus on your current priority, adjusting to your new family size.

Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999


Important Announcement for my Newsletter Subscribers

I am needing to make a change to a different company for sending my newsletters. Since the new company prohibits me from automatically adding you to the new list without your permission, I need your help.

When you take 5 seconds to sign up for the new service, you'll be rewarded with some nice Thank You gifts that are perfect for this time of year.

News about Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales

For those of you interested in the wonderful Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales, we were disappointed to find out that the product will not be here in time for us to ship for Christmas. This was a glitch on the part of the manufacturing process and the state of the economy. Basically, small businesses like Grandpa Read's had their orders bumped back in favor of huge vendors like WalMart and Target. Instead, we expect to have everything ready to ship in mid-January.

The GOOD NEWS is that now the special sale pricing continues on into January, PLUS I've decided to sweeten the deal by adding a FREE Grandpa Read Music CD along with every purchase of the 12-DVD set.

If you haven't already watched the sample video, please gather your children around and check it out. This is very sweet that I am SO eager to share with you!

Newborn Babies and Sleep

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby. This is a glorious time in your life – and a sleepless time too. Newborns have very different sleep needs than older babies. This article will help you understand your baby’s developing sleep patterns, and will help you have reasonable expectations for sleep.

Read, Learn, and Beware of Bad Advice

Absolutely everyone has an opinion about how you should handle sleep issues with your new baby. The danger to a new parent is that these tidbits of misguided advice (no matter how well-intentioned) can truly have a negative effect on our parenting skills and, by extension, our babies’ development…if we are not aware of the facts. The more knowledge you have the less likely that other people will make you doubt your parenting decisions.

When you have your facts straight, and when you have a parenting plan, you will be able to respond with confidence to those who are well-meaning but offering contrary or incorrect advice. So, your first step is to get smart! Know what you are doing, and know why you are doing it. Read books and magazines, attend classes or support groups – it all helps.

The Biology of Newborn Sleep

During the early months of your baby's life, he sleeps when he is tired, it’s that simple. You can do little to force a new baby to sleep when he doesn’t want to sleep, and conversely, you can do little to wake him up when he is sleeping soundly.

Newborn babies have very tiny tummies. They grow rapidly, their diet is liquid, and it digests quickly. Although it would be nice to lay your little bundle down at bedtime and not hear from him until morning, this is not a realistic goal for a tiny baby. Newborns need to be fed every two to four hours — and sometimes more.

Sleeping “through the night”

You may believe that babies should start "sleeping through the night" soon after birth. For a new baby, a five-hour stretch is a full night. Many (but not all) babies can sleep uninterrupted from midnight to 5 a.m. (Not that they always do.) This may be a far cry from what you may have thought "sleeping through the night" meant!

What's more, some sleep-through-the-nighters will suddenly begin waking more frequently, and it’s often a full year or even two until your baby will settle into an all-night, every night sleep pattern.

Falling Asleep at the Breast or Bottle

It is natural for a newborn to fall asleep while sucking at the breast, a bottle, or a pacifier. When a baby always falls asleep this way, he learns to associate sucking with falling asleep; over time, he cannot fall asleep any other way. This is probably the most natural, pleasant sleep association a baby can have. However, a large percentage of parents who are struggling with older babies who cannot fall asleep or stay asleep are fighting this powerful association.

Therefore, if you want your baby to be able to fall asleep without your help, it is essential that you sometimes let your newborn baby suck until he is sleepy, but not totally asleep. When you can, remove the breast, bottle, or pacifier from his mouth, and let him finish falling asleep without it. If you do this often enough, he will learn how to fall asleep without sucking.

Waking for Night Feedings

Many pediatricians recommend that parents shouldn't let a newborn sleep longer than four hours without feeding, and the majority of babies wake far more frequently than that. No matter what, your baby will wake up during the night. The key is to learn when you should pick her up for a feeding and when you can let her go back to sleep on her own.

Here’s a tip that is important for you to know. Babies make many sleeping sounds, from grunts to whimpers to outright cries, and these noises don’t always signal awakening. These are what I call sleeping noises, and your baby is asleep during these episodes.

Learn to differentiate between sleeping sounds and awake sounds. If she is awake and hungry, you’ll want to feed her as quickly as possible so she’ll go back to sleep easily. But if she’s asleep – let her sleep!

Help Your Baby Distinguish Day from Night

A newborn sleeps sixteen to eighteen hours per day, and this sleep is distributed evenly over six to seven sleep periods. You can help your baby distinguish between night sleep and day sleep, and thus help him sleep longer periods at night.

Have your baby take his daytime naps in a lit room where he can hear the noises of the day. Make nighttime sleep dark and quiet, except for white noise (a background hum). You can also help your baby differentiate day from night by using a nightly bath and a change into pajamas to signal the difference between the two.

Watch for Signs of Tiredness

Get familiar with your baby's sleepy signals and put her down to sleep as soon as she seems tired. A baby who is encouraged to stay awake when her body is craving sleep is an unhappy baby. Over time, this pattern develops into sleep deprivation, which complicates developing sleep maturity. Learn to read your baby’s sleepy signs -- such as quieting down, losing interest in people and toys, and fussing -- and put her to bed when that window of opportunity presents itself.

Make Yourself Comfortable

It’s a fact that your baby will be waking you up, so you may as well make yourself as comfortable as possible. Relax about night wakings right now. Being frustrated about having to get up won’t change a thing. The situation will improve day by day; and before you know it, your newborn won’t be so little anymore — she’ll be walking and talking and getting into everything in sight…during the day, and sleeping peacefully all night long.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002 http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth

Beanie Hats On Sale This Week!

Since the beanie hats have gotten such an enthusiastic response, I've decided to put them on sale this week. These are so cute, and it is extra fun that they come in sizes all the way from baby up to size 7! Check 'em all out here. These ship out fast, so you can still get them in time for Christmas!

Countdown to Christmas Activity Book!

When Amy Puetz showed me her Countdown to Christmas book, I was almost in tears within minutes. This book features a wonderful collection of old-fashioned holiday stories, activities, recipes, games, songs, and more---a grouping for every day from December 1-25.

This collection is just the kind of thing I like to do with my children. It's fun. It's interesting. The stories are great, and will also expose my children (and me!) to some old-fashioned language and concepts. The crafts look fun and manageable. Now that I've got this resource I'm looking forward to December 1 so we can get started with it. I really think that this is going to be our most fun December ever!

I strongly encourage you to go check it out for yourself. Amy has her book on sale at a GREAT price right now, PLUS she has an extra freebie book for you as well. You can see sample pages of the book and a list of stories, etc. here. I feel like this is going to be a wonderful thing for my family, and think it will be for your family too! :)

Beanie Hat Giveaway

**The winner of this giveaway is Kristie! Congratulations!

This week's featured giveaway is a fun beanie hat from my boutique!

Last year I got beanies for my boys ages 4, 6, and 7 (at the time). (YES! These hats come in sizes for older kids too!) They loved their cool new hats, and are still excited about them. Now they call them their "DJ Hats" and think they are really stylin' when they wear these (which they do, even around the house).

These hats are well-made and have held up great for my sons.

I love it that these hats were created by a couple of new parents that wanted a fun, cool look for their baby. Made in the USA!

Here are some of the available styles:

Here's what you can win:
One free beanie hat of your choice.

How you can enter to win:

Visit my site and take a look at the beanie hat styles. Leave a comment telling me which beanie hat is your favorite. If you don't have a blog that I can contact you through, please leave your email address for me or else you can't win. :) (**I've had a lot of people recently that have blogs but the profile is not public, so I am not able to find those blogs, which means I can't find you, which means you can't win. Please make sure I have a way to contact you.)

*Want to get an extra entry in this giveaway? Blog about it at your own blog, including a link back to this giveaway so others can join in the fun! Leave a comment with your blog URL so we can see what you wrote. :)

*Get an extra entry in this giveaway when you follow me on Twitter! (just leave another comment, once you're a "follower" telling me your Twitter name)

*Get another entry in thie giveaway when you join The Baby Boutique place on Facebook! (leave another comment once you've joined, telling me your Facebook name)

*Get another entry for subscribing to The Baby Boutique newsletter here. (You'll get two free ebooks when you do!) Leave another comment letting me know you subbed.

*Get another entry for Subscribing to our RSS feed. Leave a comment letting me know you did.

The fine print:

Winner must have a US address.

The winner will be announced on:
One winner will be chosen randomly on Saturday, November 29, 2008.

Christmas Sale Starts NOW!

The Baby Boutique at Womb's Window Christmas Sale starts NOW. Enjoy the lowest prices EVER on many of our most popular products. (See all sale items here)

Prices will be in effect until December 1, while supplies last!

All onesies on sale!

Apples and Pears, Morning Glory, and Crib Bedding Sets all on Sale!
(*These products normally NEVER go on sale. Enjoy this opportunity while you can!)

Baby Kaed Diaper Bags--Gift with purchase!
We are unable to put Baby Kaed bags on sale, but we can offer you a gift voucher!
Purchase any Baby Kaed bag, get a $35 gift certificate to The Baby Boutique at Womb's Window! (gift certificate will be sent to you by email after your purchase)

Purchase the 12 DVD set of Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales ON SALE, and get the music CD FREE! (Free CD will come automatically with your purchase. No need to use a coupon code.)

Gorgeous baby sling gift baskets for boys or girls on sale at the lowest price ever!

All Clear Bag Systems just $39.99! Perfect for those of you that will be traveling with children this holiday season.

Now is the time to stock up on SuperMom vitamins, which are perfect for you whether you need prenatals, postnatals, or just a good multi-vitamin to give you the energy to keep up with the kids! Also on sale at the lowest price ever is our SuperDad vitamins and SuperKids liquid multivitamins. Get off to a healthy new year by stocking up now!

Get a FREE copy of Healthy Child, Whole Child with your purchase of at least $50!

See all of our sale items here.

Sale Prices and offers will be in effect until December 1. (Except Grandpa Read special, which ends Friday, November 28)

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Just a little head's up here, in case you don't know....there is a really fun 12 Days of Christmas giveaway going on here. I think today is day 8 or something, so there's still plenty of time for you to check the site every day and see what fun stuff they have. So far I have really enjoyed all of the goodies they have given away!

Quick! This offer ends Friday!

So many people have been delighted to find out about Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales. This 12-volume DVD collection features classic children's stories read to your children by the friendly Grandpa Read. Each DVD is approximately 60 minutes long and features four stories plus an original song.

From now until Friday I have a special offer for you:
Purchase the 12 DVD collection for the discounted price of $129.99 (regularly $149.99) and you will receive the Quiet Time Tales Music CD FREE!

What is Preventing Your Baby from Sleeping Through the Night?

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Here’s something that may really surprise you: As much as we may want our babies to sleep through the night, our own subconscious emotions sometimes hold us back from encouraging change in our babies’ sleeping habits. You yourself may be the very obstacle preventing a change in a routine that disrupts your life. So let's figure out if anything is standing in your way.

Examine Your Own Needs and Goals

Today’s society leads us to believe that “normal babies” sleep through the night from about two months; my research indicates that this is more the exception than the rule. The number of families in your boat could fill a fleet of cruise ships.

“At our last day-care parent meeting, one father brought up the fact that his two-year-old daughter wasn’t sleeping through the night. I discovered that out of 24 toddlers only six stayed asleep all night long.” …Robin, mother of thirteen-month-old Alicia

You must figure out where your own problem lies. Is it in your baby’s routine, in your management of it, or simply in the minds of others? If you can honestly say you want to change your baby’s sleep habits because they are truly disruptive to you and your family, then you’re ready to make changes. But if you feel coerced into changing Baby’s patterns because Great Grandma Beulah or your friend from playgroup says that’s the way it should be, it’s time for a long, hard think.

Certainly, if your little one is waking you up every hour or two, you don’t have to think long on the question, “Is this disruptive to me?” It obviously is. However, if your baby is waking up only once or twice a night, it’s important that you determine exactly how much this pattern is disturbing to you, and decide on a realistic goal. Be honest in assessing the situation's effect on your life. Begin today by contemplating these questions:

  • Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated?
  • Is my baby’s nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage, job, or relationships with my other children?
  • Is my baby happy, healthy, and seemingly well rested?
  • Am I happy, healthy, and well rested?

Once you answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of not only what is happening with regard to your baby’s sleep, but also how motivated you are to make a change.

Reluctance to Let Go of Those Nighttime Moments

A good, long, honest look into your heart may truly surprise you. You may find you actually relish those quiet night wakings when no one else is around. I remember in the middle of one night, I lay nursing Coleton by the light of the moon. The house was perfectly, peacefully quiet. As I gently stroked his downy hair and soft baby skin, I marveled at this tiny being beside me—and the thought hit me, “I love this! I love these silent moments that we share in the night.” It was then that I realized that even though I struggled through my baby’s hourly nighttime wakings, I needed to want to make a change in our night waking habits before I would see any changes in his sleeping patterns.

You may need to take a look at your own feelings. And if you find you’re truly ready to make a change, you’ll need to give yourself permission to let go of this stage of your baby’s life and move on to a different phase in your relationship. There will be lots of time to hug, cuddle, and love your little one, but you must truly feel ready to move those moments out of your sleeping time and into the light of day.

Worry About Your Baby’s Safety

We parents worry about our babies, and we should! With every night waking, as we have been tending to our child’s nightly needs, we have also been reassured that our baby is doing fine — every hour or two all night long. We get used to these checks; they provide continual reassurance of Baby’s safety.

“The first time my baby slept five straight hours, I woke up in a cold sweat. I nearly fell

out of bed and ran down the hall. I was so sure that something was horribly wrong. I nearly wept when I found her sleeping peacefully.” …Azza, mother of seven-month-old Laila

Co-sleeping parents are not exempt from these fears. Even if you are sleeping right next to your baby, you’ll find that you have become used to checking on her frequently through the night. Even when she’s sleeping longer stretches, you aren’t sleeping, because you’re still on security duty.

These are very normal worries, rooted in your natural instincts to protect your baby. Therefore, for you to allow your baby to sleep for longer stretches, you’ll need to find ways to feel confident that your baby is safe—all night long.

Once you reassure yourself that your baby is safe while you sleep, you’ll have taken that first step toward helping her sleep all night.

Belief That Things Will Change on Their Own

You may hope, pray, and wish that one fine night, your baby will magically begin to sleep through the night. Maybe you’re crossing your fingers that he’ll just “outgrow” this stage, and you won’t have to do anything different at all. It’s a very rare night-waking baby who suddenly decides to sleep through the night all on his own. Granted, this may happen to you—but your baby may be two, three or four years old when it does! Decide now whether you have the patience to wait that long, or if you are ready to gently move the process along.

Too Fatigued to Work Toward Change

Change requires effort, and effort requires energy. In an exhausted state, we may find it easier just to keep things as they are than try something different. In other words, when Baby wakes for the fifth time that night, and I'm desperate for sleep, it's so much easier just to resort to the easiest way to get him back to sleep (rock, nurse, or replace the pacifier) than it is to try something different.

Only a parent who is truly sleep deprived can understand what I’m saying here. Others may calmly advise, “Well if things aren’t working for you, just change what you’re doing.” However, every night waking puts you in that foggy state where the only thing you crave is going back to sleep—plans and ideas seem like too much effort.

If you are to help your baby sleep all night, you will have to force yourself to make some changes and follow your plan, even in the middle of the night, even if it’s the tenth time your baby has called out for you.

So, after reading this section and you’re sure you and your baby are ready, it’s time for you to make a commitment to change. That is the first important step to helping your baby sleep through the night.

This article is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002

Website: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth




2009 Family Dear Calendar

If you are a fan of the sweet, homespun look of Marmee Dear's lovely store, you will loooove her all-new 2009 Family Dear Calendar! Each month features adorable and heartwarming pictures from vintage storybooks. Too cute!

This big 17" x 22" calendar has nice, big spaces to write in and is printed on sturdy paper stock to keep it looking good and holding up all year long.

Right now Marmee is offer a special deal for my readers! Use coupon code EJ2009 and you will get FREE SHIPPING on your calendar (or go ahead and order several for Christmas gifts).

You can check it out and order here.


Making the Holidays Family Friendly

The Holidays are supposed to be all about celebrating with the folks you love, yet all too often the focus is on the preparations instead of the people and the children especially seem to get lost in the shuffle. If holidays are stressful to you, or you come to the end of the day wondering where and what your children were doing all day, this book is for you. It is a reminder of why we celebrate, and how to celebrate in a more family-friendly way. Memories are made at every holiday, are they good ones or bad ones? Learn how to make them good ones for everyone.

Check out this new release ebook from my friend Penny Raine! It's at a super low price right now, too. :)

Ultrasound Shirts--A Giveaway!

**Winner of the adult shirt is Ida Rogers, and winner of the child's shirt is Judy. Thanks for participating! Come by tomorrow for a new giveaway!

We had so much fun giving away an Ultrasound Shirt back in the summer that we decided to do it again, since these shirts would make great Christmas gifts!

This week's featured business:
Ultrasound shirts is a business owned by Erin Groff, a mother of two little girls. She shares how she was inspired to start her business:

"When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I really wanted to share my ultrasound pictures with my friends and family in a special way. I started the company Ultrasound Shirts so mothers, grandmothers and older siblings could wear the ultrasound photo on their shirt. Now you can have your own unique shirts that feature your baby’s ultrasound picture, too!"

Here's some of what they do:

Here's what they're giving away:
One free ultrasound shirt for an adult, and one for a child. There will be two different winners this week.

How you can enter to win:

Leave a comment telling me which ultrasound shirt you would want and why. (If you choose an adult shirt in your comment, you'll have to pick an adult shirt if you're the winner. If you choose a child's shirt in your comment, you'll have to pick a child's shirt if you win.) If you don't have a blog that I can contact you through, please leave your email address for me or else you can't win. :)

*Want to get an extra entry in this giveaway? Blog about it at your own blog, including a link back to this giveaway so others can join in the fun! Leave a comment with your blog URL so we can see what you wrote. :)

*Get an extra entry in this giveaway when you follow me on Twitter! (just leave another comment, once you're a "follower" telling me your Twitter name)

*Get another entry in thie giveaway when you join The Baby Boutique place on Facebook! (leave another comment once you've joined, telling me your Facebook name)

*Get another entry for subscribing to The Baby Boutique newsletter here. (You'll get two free ebooks when you do!) Leave another comment letting me know you subbed.

*Get another entry for Subscribing to our RSS feed. Leave a comment letting me know you did.

Something for everybody: FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more for the entire month of November, plus you can get an additional 15% off your purchase by using coupon code 'giveaway' during checkout. What a great deal for those of you that want to get an extra special gift for the expectant moms, grandmas, and siblings on your gift giving list!

The fine print:

See UltrasoundShirts.com to choose from in-stock styles and colors only. Prize can only be awarded to someone with a US address.

The winner will be announced on:
One winner will be chosen randomly on Saturday, November 22, 2008.

We have a winner!

The winner of the Clear Bag System is CJ's Mommy Kimberly!
Thanks to all of you for participating. Come by tomorrow for another giveaway!

Paci Clip Winner is....

Jessica! Congratulations, girl!

You can all let your blog readers know that we have weekly giveaways here at The Baby Boutique Blog. :)

Giveaway: Clear Bag System for Traveling with Kids

This week I am excited to offer a fabulous new travel product: Baby Your Baby Clear Bag System!
This ingenious product is perfect for families on the go. If you have ever had to travel with children, and deal with all of the regulations about what size containers of shampoo, lotions, or liquid medications you can take on the plane, you know that it can be a real nightmare. So often people end up traveling with a motley collection of junky plastic containers in a ziploc bag that is always ready to burst open at the wrong time!

The Clear Bag System has been a popular one with jet-setters all over the world, and now they are bringing their style to the younger set! With designs ranging from petite polka dots, stars, or hearts, all the way to the fun and bold frogs, ladybugs, and bumblebees, there is such to be a collection that is perfect for the little traveler in your life.

This week one lucky winner will get a Clear Bag System of their choice!

Here's what you need to do: Go check out the Clear Bag Systems at the boutique, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me which style is your favorite, and where you have traveled (or plan to travel) with children.

*Want to get an extra entry in this giveaway? Blog about it at your own blog, including a link back to this giveaway so others can join in the fun! Leave a comment with your blog URL so we can see what you wrote. :)

*Get an extra entry in this giveaway when you follow me on Twitter! (just leave another comment, once you're a "follower" telling me your Twitter name)

*Get another entry in this giveaway when you join The Baby Boutique place on Facebook! (leave another comment once you've joined, telling me your Facebook name)

*Get another entry for subscribing to The Baby Boutique newsletter here. (You'll get two free ebooks when you do!) Leave another comment letting me know you subbed.

*Get another entry for Subscribing to our RSS feed. Leave a comment letting me know you did.

The Fine Print: This giveaway is for one Clear Bag System from The Baby Boutique at Womb's Window. This giveaway is open to USA residents only. If you don't have a blog that I can reach you through, be sure to leave an email address. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

The winner will be announced on Saturday, November 15.

Wonderful Sounds for Sleep

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution

The environment that your baby enjoyed for nine long months in the womb was not one of absolute quiet. There was a constant symphony of sound -- your heartbeat and fluids rushing in and out of the placenta. (Remember those sounds from when you listened to your baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler stethoscope?) Research indicates that “white noise” sounds or soft bedtime music helps many babies to relax and fall asleep more easily. This is most certainly because these sounds create an environment more familiar to your baby than a very quiet room.

Many people enjoy using soothing music as their baby’s sleep sound. If you do, choose bedtime music carefully. Some music (including jazz and much classical music) is too complex and stimulating. For music to be soothing to your baby, pick simple, repetitive, predictable music, like traditional lullabies. Tapes created especially for putting babies to sleep are great choices. Pick something that you will enjoy listening to night after night, too. (Using a tape player with an automatic repeat function is helpful for keeping the music going as long as you need it to play.)

There are widely available, and very lovely, "nature sounds" tapes that work nicely, too, as well those small sound-generating or white-noise devices and clocks you may have seen in stores. The sounds on these -- raindrops, a bubbling brook or running water -- often are similar to those sounds your baby heard in utero. A ticking clock or a bubbling fish tank also make wonderful white-noise options.

“I went out today and bought a small aquarium and the humming noise does seem to relax Chloe and help her to sleep. I didn’t buy any fish though. Who has time to take care of fish when you’re half asleep all day?”

Tanya, mother of 13-month-old Chloe

You can find some suitable tapes and CDs made especially for babies or those made for adults to listen to when they want to relax. Whatever you choose, listen to it first and ask yourself: Does this relax me? Would it make me feel sleepy if I listened to it in bed?

If you must put your baby to sleep in a noisy, active house full of people, keeping the tape running (auto rewind) will help mask baby-waking noises like dishes clanking, people talking, siblings giggling, TV, dogs barking, etc. This can also help transition your sleeping baby from a noisy daytime house to which he’s become accustomed subconsciously to one of absolute nighttime quiet.

Once your baby is familiar with his calming noise, or music, you can use these to help your baby fall back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Simply sooth him by playing the music (very quietly) during the calming and falling-asleep time. If he wakes and cries, repeat this process.

If your baby gets used to his sleep time sounds you can take advantage of this and take the tape with you if you will be away from home for naptime or bedtime. The familiarity of these sounds will help your baby sleep in an unfamiliar environment.

Eventually your baby will rely on this technique less and less to fall and stay asleep. Don’t feel you must rush the process; there is no harm in your baby falling asleep to these gentle sounds. When you are ready to wean him of these you can help this process along by reducing the volume by a small amount every night until you finally don’t turn the music or sounds on at all.

Babies enjoy these peaceful sounds, and they are just one more piece in the puzzle that helps you to help your baby sleep – gently, without any crying at all.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002

Website: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth

I'm So Excited About Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales

Do you wish that there was something gentle, classic, and beautiful for your children to watch and listen to?

Do you miss the simplicity of shows like Mr. Rogers and wish you could find something comparable for your children today?

Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales is the answer! These beautiful, friendly, and gentle DVDs share classic children's stories with your children in a way that will delight them.

Each 60-minute (approx.) DVD features Grandpa Read, who reads 5 classic children's stories with your children, as well as illustrations and an original song. Grandpa is accompanied by his faithful canine companion Champ, and some special fish friends, Sparky and Wanda.

My very energetic little boys are ages 5, 7, and 8 and they loved watching the sample story and songs. The warmth, humor, friendliness, and classic stories was just the sort of thing I was looking for!

What a wonderful gift for a family with young children, or for a new big brother or sister that needs a calm and enriching activity to do while mommy feeds the new baby! I plan to use these as a quiet educational activity for little boys who need something worthwhile to do when I help other siblings with their school work. :)

Enjoy a discounted price as we accept pre-orders for a limited time. Products will be shipping in early December, so you will be sure to have them by Christmas.

You can now watch a 12 minute sample video here. Gather up your children and enjoy!

Free Christmas ebook

Who wants a freebie? I've got one for you--a Christmas ebook with lots of great decorating and activity ideas, as well as recipes! Clickety-click!

And the winner is....

Jessie! I'll be sending her a Belly Hugger this week. Should be great for her baby belly! (baby #3 on the way in March. Woot!! :) )

Personalized Paci Clip Giveaway!

This week I am featuring a giveaway of one of the most popular items at my boutique: A Personalized Paci Clip!

We all know how important it is to the little ones in our life to keep their pacifiers close at hand. These awesome paci clips come in a bazillion different ribbon choices, and can even be personalized to make 'em extra special. I also love paci clips for keeping toys close at hand.

One of my favorite things about my boutique is that almost everything that I sell is made or designed by a stay-at-home mom in the USA. These paci clips are made by a cool gal named Laurie, who got started on her design because she saw a need for a paci clip that was sturdy and functional, while also being stylish and personalized. My customers looooove these clips and keep coming back for more.

This week one lucky winner will get a personalized paci clip of their choice!*

Here's what you need to do: Go check out the paci clips at my site, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me which ribbon choice is your favorite. I know it'll be hard to choose, but do your best. ;)

The Fine Print: This giveaway is for one personalized paci clip of the winner's choice. *Collegiate ribbons are not included. (sorry!) This giveaway is open to USA residents only. If you don't have a blog that I can reach you through, be sure to leave an email address. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

The winner will be announced on Saturday, November 8.

Tooth Tissues!

I am so excited about our newest product: Tooth Tissues! These convenient wipes are for cleaning off your baby or toddler's teeth when brushing isn't an option. Developed by two dentists for use with their own children, I was delighted to see that this product is fluoride-free and paraben-free. This is a rarity these days!

I would have loved to have a product like this a few years ago. My youngest child has asthma and in his life we have sometimes needed to use oral or inhaled steroids. When he was just 3 he had such extensive cavities throughout his baby teeth that he needed oral surgery to deal with all of it. I ended up finding out from my dentist that the steroids (both oral AND inhaled) are quite damaging to tooth enamel, and that was probably to blame for my little boy's dental troubles. (none of my older children had ever even had a single cavity!) Now I know that it is important to have him brush his teeth immediately after any inhaler use, but for times when we are not at home and unable to brush, Tooth Tissues are going to be a big help!

My ten year old son and I tried out Tooth Tissues on ourselves, to see how it tastes and feels. We are happy to report that although there is a slight taste (not an unpleasant one) when using the wipes, there is no aftertaste at all. (I even drank some healthy lemonade right after using mine, and had no bad taste reaction at all) This product gets two thumbs up from us!

It's Bloggy Giveaway Time Again!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Welcome to The Baby Boutique Blog! This is my spot for connecting with fans of my baby boutique, featuring great new products I've added, sharing helpful articles and tips for moms of little ones, and often we have giveaways!

I have one goodie that is free for everybody, and that is a Halloween ebook! Learn more about this here.

This week I am giving away a Belly Hugger!

The Belly Hugger is a very popular item for pregnant and nursing moms. Now that winter is coming I know that you pregnant mommas need a way to keep that baby bump under wraps and snuggly warm. Here is your chance!

The winner will get to choose one Belly Hugger in the size and color of her choice. (See this page to see what I have available)

In order to enter this giveaway, you need to leave me a comment telling me one of your favorite things about being a mom!

Make sure that your comment includes your email address or a link to your blog so I can notify you if you win! I'll be picking a winner probably on Nov. 2. USA addresses only, please. Thanks!

Want to visit my other giveaways? Check 'em out:
Supermom's Health and Wellness Blog: Giving away our most popular item for moms!
Supermom's No-Lice Advice: help for keeping the cooties away!
One Dollar Doggie Adoption: Sharpie marker set!
Supermom's Homeschool: homeschool goodies!

Car Seat Crying

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

Some babies fall asleep almost before you’re out of the driveway, but others won’t spend five happy minutes in their car seats. Usually, this is because your baby is used to more freedom of movement and more physical attention than you can provide when she’s belted into her seat.

Hearing your baby cry while you are trying to drive is challenging. Even though it’s difficult to deal with, remember that you and your baby’s safety are most important. Parents sometimes take a crying baby out of the car seat, which is extremely dangerous and makes it even more difficult for the baby to get used to riding in the car seat. Some parents make poor driving decisions when their babies are crying, which puts everyone in the car at risk. Either pull over and calm your baby down, or focus on your driving. Don’t try to do both.

The good news is that a few new ideas and a little time and maturity will help your baby become a happy traveler. (I know, because three of my babies were car-seat-haters!)

The trip to car seat happiness

Any one (or more) of the following strategies may help solve your car seat
dilemma. If the first one you try fails, choose another one, then another; eventually, you’ll hit upon the right solution for your baby.

Make sure that your baby is healthy.
If car seat crying is something new, and your baby has been particularly fussy at home, too, your baby may have an ear infection or other illness. A visit to the doctor is in order.

Bring the car seat in the house and let your baby sit and play in it.
Once it becomes more familiar in the house, she may be happier to sit there in the car.

Keep a special box of soft, safe car toys that you’ll use only in the car. If these are interesting enough, they may hold her attention. (Avoid hard toys because they could cause injury in a quick stop.)

Tape or hang toys for viewing.
You can do this on the back of the seat that your baby is facing or string an array of lightweight toys from the ceiling using heavy tape and yarn. Place them just at arm’s reach so that your baby can bat at them from her seat. (Don’t use hard toys that could hurt your baby if they come loose in a quick stop.)

Make a car mobile.
Link a long row of plastic baby chains from one side of the backseat to the other. Clip soft, lightweight new toys onto the chain for each trip. Make sure they are secure and keep on eye on these so that they don’t become loose while you are driving.

Hang a made-for-baby poster on the back of the seat that faces your baby.
These are usually black, white, red and bold primary colors; some even have pockets so you can change the pictures. (Remember to do this, since changing the scenery is very helpful.)

Experiment with different types of music in the car.
Some babies enjoy lullabies or music tapes made especially for young children; others surprise you by calming down as soon as you play one of your favorites. Some babies enjoy hearing Mom or Dad sing, more than anything else! (For some reason, a rousing chorus of “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has always been a good choice for us, even out of season!)

Try “white noise” in the car.
You can purchase CDs of soothing nature sounds or you can make a recording of your vacuum cleaner!

Practice with short, pleasant trips when your baby is in a good mood.
It helps if someone can sit near her and keep her entertained. A few good experiences may help set a new pattern.

Try a pacifier or teething toy.
When your baby has something to suck or chew on he may be happier. Just make sure it doesn’t present a choking hazard, and keep to small, soft toys.

Hang a mirror.
That way your baby can see you (and you can see your baby) while you are driving. Baby stores offer specialty mirrors made especially for this purpose. When in her seat, she may think that you’re not there, and just seeing your face will help her feel better.

Put up a sunshade in the window.
This can be helpful if you suspect that sunshine in your baby’s face may be a problem. Use the window-stick-on types, and avoid any with hard pieces that could become dislodged in a quick stop.

Try to consolidate trips.
Trip-chaining is effective, especially if you avoid being in the car for long periods of time, and you don’t have many ins-and-outs.

Make sure your baby hasn’t outgrown her car seat.
If her legs are confined, or her belts are too tight, she my find her seat to be uncomfortable.

Try opening a window.
Fresh air and a nice breeze can be soothing.

If all else fails . . . take the bus!

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

How to Have a Happy Marriage When You’re Busy Being Parents

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation, Perfect Parenting and Hidden Messages

Is your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be? Or has it been pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Let’s face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong, your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and you’ll, quite simply, have more fun in your life.

Make a commitment

To create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you follow through on this commitment and will put new life and meaning into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when they know that Mom and Dad love each other—particularly in today’s world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; half of your children’s friends have gone, or are going through a divorce; or maybe it’s your kids who have survived a divorce and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won’t suffer from neglect! They’ll blossom when your marriage—and their homelife—is thriving.

The surprising secret is that this doesn’t have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.

So here’s my challenge to you. Read the following suggestions and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you’ll both be happier.

Look for the good, overlook the bad

You married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage is to look for the good and overlook the bad.

Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things — dirty socks on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, worn out flannel pajamas, an inelegant burp at the dinner table — and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your favorite cookies, the peace in knowing someone so well that you can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.

Give two compliments every day

Now that you’ve committed to seeing the good in your partner, it’s time to say it! This is a golden key to your mate’s heart. Our world is so full of negative input, and we so rarely get compliments from other people. When we do get a compliment, it not only makes us feel great about ourselves, it actually makes us feel great about the person giving the compliment! Think about it! When your honey says, “You’re the best. I’m so glad I married you.” It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.

Compliments are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and they’re free. Compliments are powerful; you just have to make the effort to say them. Anything works: “Dinner was great, you make my favorite sauce.” “Thanks for picking up the cleaning. It was very thoughtful, you saved me a trip.” “That sweater looks great on you.”

Play nice

That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see -- or experience -- partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and being nice, just choose to be nice. Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi’s friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit – “If you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Pick your battles

How often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great advice for child-rearing—and it’s great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. By doing this, you’ll find much less negative energy between you.

From now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue at hand, and ask yourself a few questions. “How important is this?” “Is this worth picking a fight over?” “What would be the benefit of choosing this battle versus letting it go?”

The 60 second cuddle

You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other — holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing — just as you can spot an “oldly-married” couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day’s end finds them “touched fulfilled”.

So here’s a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage – the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.

Here’s the deal: Whenever you’ve been apart make it a rule that you will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can be addictive! If you follow this advice soon you’ll find yourselves touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect of your relationship.

Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner.

I don’t mean, “Remember to pick up Jimmy’s soccer uniform.” Or “I have a PTA meeting tonight.” Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.

Spend time with your spouse

It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as “Husband” and “Wife”. This doesn’t mean you have to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it’s quite fine to talk about your children when you’re spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.

When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself — and to your kids — to nurture your relationship.

So take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.

Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth Pantley:

Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children,

New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary

Website: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth