Outer Space Party

    Forty years ago today, Commander Neil Armstrong accomplished the first moon landing. With his initial step, Armstrong's infamous phrase "One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind…" resonated throughout the world. Armstrong's much anticipated journey to the moon had launched a major interest into the fascinating world of outer space. Today, little ones are still eager to explore what lies beyond the realm of the earth and its atmosphere.

    What better theme for a children's birthday party? Start with a space themed invitation. Hello LIttle One's "Solar System" birthday party invitation is perfect for such an occasion. Next, think of where you would like to hold your party. Many science museums, children's'  museums and discovery centers offer their sites for birthday parties. Some even hold overnight parties. A few that do are the William Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College, Illinois, The Science Factory-Children's Museum & Planetarium in Eugene, Oregon, and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, N.H. Check these out for specifics or search for ones near you. Alternatively, your home could be the perfect place to host the party and lots of fun to decorate. First, play some space music. Star Wars and Star Trek sound tracks would create an outer space atmosphere. Available almost everywhere, glow in the dark stars would transform your ceilings to the night sky.  Planets could be colorful helium balloons or spray painted Styrofoam balls of different sizes hung from the ceiling. A space ship could be made from a large cardboard refrigerator/appliance box. On the flip side, an alien ship could also be made using the same idea.

    In addition, a space party offers many party activites: making individual space ships from small cardboard boxes (cereal, oatmeal, food boxes), paper towel tubes, Styrofoam shapes, aluminum foil and paint, musical chairs using space music, alien masks making, blind folded solar system board (where children pin planets on the wall around the sun) and find the most moon rocks (spray painted rocks hidden). If a night time party is an option, the night sky offers a natural scape to fascinate all party goers. Lying out on a blanket, each child could try to find specific star constellations. And of course, trivia outer space games are always fun.

    Where there is a party, there must be food. The menu could begin with Individual Moon Pizzas, Constellation Dipsters (Chicken Nuggets), Alien Fruit Punch (punch with frozen sherbet balls floating and alien gummy worms), a Moon, Sun or Alien cake, and planet cupcakes (these could be decorated by the guests to resemble a planet). Other snacks  could include Starburst candy, Milky Way and Mars bars. Go for it! Outer Space has no boundaries!

Product Review: Putumayo Kids Music CDs

My girlfriend Maura recently gave my son Leo a music CD from Putumayo Kids, called World Playgound and it's so wonderful, I had to write about it. Maura described it to me as "music that you and your kids like, with beats and sounds that are great for kids to listen to" and she was spot on. Putumayo Kids' mission is to "introduce children to other cultures through music from around the world" and they have a selection of CDs featuring multilingual liner notes. The music is fun, energetic, enchanting, and most importantly, Leo loves it. Everytime we play it, Leo immediately starts dancing (even if he's in his car seat, he'll start a little sitting shimmy!). In addition to World Playground, the company also has CDs such as Brazilian Playground, Reggae Playground, and African Playground. The complete catelog can be found and ordered here.

At least one percent of the CD sales benefit non-profit groups that support children, families, schools and other charities.

“I’d trade my husband for a housekeeper”

Okay, so that’s going a bit far, but it sure is a catchy title for the new book by best-selling authors Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile. This is sort of a follow-up to their first book, I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. The two ladies wondered if marital bliss could ever co-exist with the trials and tribulations of motherhood and so they set out and interviewed hundreds of mothers to find out. I’d Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper examines the challenges of modern parenthood for married couples today and it extends a loving hand so that mothers can step out of the madness make the most of what they have and learn to love their marriages as much as they love their husbands and kids.

Today the authors were featured on Oprah with real mothers recanting not-so-perfect mom stories that were hilarious, very real, and conjured up big sighs of relief that I’m not the only one who has done or thought that. My favorite story was the woman who was driving in her car and both of her kids fell asleep at the same time. A rare occurance, she didn’t want to wake them at any cost. When nature called, she simply reached in the diaper bag and used one of her child’s pampers to make sure she could keep driving in peace!

Product Review: Cloud b Twilight Turtle – Constellation Night Light

For Leo's first birthday, friends of ours got him the Cloud b Twilight Turtle Constellation Night Light and we love it. Through the turtle's shell, stars are projected onto the ceiling and walls in three different color choices: green, blue and amber. The light shuts off after 45 minutes. If Leo is a bit fussy before bed, we'll turn the turtle on and he'll just stare up at the stars and drift off to sleep. When he gets older, we'll help him identify the eight major constellations using the star guide that was included with the turtle. Right now he really loves to press the buttons to change the colors of the lights. The photos below are of his room, with the three different color settings. Pretty cool, don't you think?

Leo’s Cool School

As some of you know, I have a one year old son named Leo. I also have a full time job of running this business and a house to run. For a while, I was taking care of Leo on my own and running the biz, until it got just too hectic and I needed some serious help. I wavered between a nanny and daycare for a long time. I interviewed a few nannies, and researched a few daycares. In the end we choose daycare, or 'school' as we and the center call it. We had many personal reasons for choosing school over a nanny, and I believe that each family is different and requires different needs. We are so happy with our choice and Leo just loves being at school! We enrolled him in Next Generation, a center that was started by a grandmother who could not find a suitable daycare for her grandson. If any of you are in the Greater Boston area, I would recommend Next Generation Children's Centers as a place to check out. The staff is loving, the facility is clean and the teachers stay true to the center's philosophy: "To offer young children a familiar and engaging place to grow and develop. Through developmentally appropriate curriculum and specially designed classrooms, we instill in your child a love of learning. Children are exposed to literacy, science and math through our learn by doing approach to curricula. These learning opportunities become seamless in your child’s day of fun."

Product Review: Modern Style Glider at Babies R Us

To me, having a glider / rocker in the nursery for late night feedings, bedtime stories and simple soothing is key. When I found out I was pregnant, I started my search for something modern, comfy and reasonably priced. I couldn't believe how hard it was! Everything that was modern and hip had a huge pricetag, and all the lower priced chairs didn't really fit the design aethetic I was going for. I couldn't commit to the expensive ones that I loved, and I couldn't come to terms with settling for a less than cool look. When I moved my son from my bedroom to his crib, I knew I had to get something… and finally I found what I was looking for. The Micro Marshmellow Glider from Babies R Us is cool, comfy and has a modern look. At a respectable $399, it's not cheap but not too expensive either. A matching ottoman is available too.

Just In: The Eames Postage Stamps

The USPS just released some of the coolest postage stamps I've seen in a long time: the Charles and Ray Eames commemorative sheet of sixteen 42 cent stamps. The married couple is known for their contributions to furniture design, industrial design, art, film, artchitecture and graphic design. If their names don't ring a bell right away, you may be familiar with the lounge chair they designed for Herman Miller. The Eames Lounger was first made in 1956, and has been in production ever since. It's an iconic symbol of modern furniture design, and part of the permanant collection at New York's Museum of Modern Art. The panel of stamps was designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC and is available at usps.com. I'll be ordering up a bunch!

Product Review: Hammitt Collection Suzy Diaper Bag

Get ready to drool… The Suzy Diaper Bag by Stef Hammitt is so incredibly cool, even Angelina Jolie was spotted carrying one. I'm not usually into celeb promototed products, but when I saw Pax's mom toting around this work of art, I instantly fell in love. After a quick search on the web, I found the Hammitt collection website and ordered up one in Brandy. Here's the thing: it isn't cheap. At a price tag of around $500, it's a bit of an extravagant purchase. However, when I received the bag, I knew that I had just done myself a favor… I will have this bag forever! The combo of the gorgeous leather, bold but feminine hardware, and perfect sizing makes this tote great for the transition into a travel bag when the little ones ditch the nappies. Always one to rationalize, I figured I was spending less on clothes, plane tickets and wine so I may as well treat myself. I'm sure glad I did!

Product Review: Dapper Diaper Burb Cloths

I love cute and unique baby gifts, and one of my go-to online places to buy gifts for new moms is dapperdiapers.com  I was first introduced to these by my friend a few years ago, and I've been ordering them up ever since!  You can order a 2-6 pack and choose the ribbon that goes on each cloth. And of course I love how you can pick the font! Alicia, the owner, is great to work with and also owns a childrens boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona. Check out the photo of the ones that my friend Kate got me for my new son, Leo. So cute!