Archive for the ‘Babies & Kids’ Category

Make your own baby sign language flash cards

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 14:04 6 Comments

When I was making a baby shower gift for a friend last year, I bought her a few books on baby sign language because she was planning to teach her baby signing with the sign language we both remembered learning in school!  But I wanted to get flash cards as well, but couldn’t find any.  We were talking about it a few days back and thought I would see if I could find flash cards now, and discovered there are several places where you can print baby sign language flash cards online!

What you need:
Card stock to print cards on
Pencil crayons or felts to decorate the cards (they are in black and white)
Elastic band or small box to keep them all together when not being used
Laminate (optional) – if you have access to a cheap laminator, you can laminate them to prolong the life of your cards and pass them on to others later!

Sources to print your own baby sign language flash cards:
Print n Learn
has a nice set of free flash cards with the letters preprinted with the signs.
Enchanted Learning has free ABC flash cards.  You will need to put the letter on the front/back (your preference)
ABC Teach has some nice ones, but you need to pay a yearly membership fee for them (well, if you want to go beyond the first few letters!).  Comes in color, black & white or grayscale.  Letters are shown in the front of the card though.  (Check out Child of the Nature Isle blog to see how they colored and used the cards, awesome!)

Sources to buy baby sign language flash cards:
If you are looking for some flash card sets for a gift, here are some of the popular flash cards on Amazon.  But making flash cards for your gift would be an awesome gift, especially if you color them with style :)


I also wanted to include a link to this awesome placemat – it has sign language alphabet on the front so you can reinforce sign language at meal time too!  File this one under things I wished I thought of first!

More from moms doing baby sign language:
I also wanted to include some more reading on doing baby sign language from moms, so check them out!

Don’t forget many community centers offer classes on baby signing now or ask at your local parenting group or baby store and see who they recommend.  It is fun to get together with other moms and learn signing together.

Last but not least, remember Baby Baluga by Raffi?  Here is a great video signing Baby Beluga!  While it goes to the book, you could easily use the actions to sing the song once you know all the signs.


This was posted under category: Babies & Kids

Switching up the lunchtime fruit routine

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 22:41 Comments Off on Switching up the lunchtime fruit routine

Tired of seeing apples coming back in your child’s lunchkit with only a bite taken out of them?  Or sending the same banana back and forth until it is too brown to even use in banana bread?  The reality is that the majority of parents limit the fruit they pack in their kid’s lunches to the traditional apples, oranges and bananas, when there is actually a whole wide variety of fruit options that increase the liklihood it will actually get eaten 😉

And don’t just think about those little single serving sized fruit cups (which also relates to our weekly grocery shopping challenge this week – Don’t Buy Single Serving Packaged Food).  Buy a large jar or can of it, and divide it into single serving sizes yourself.  Don’t have enough plastic containers?  Carefully divide into plastic bags, then store the plastic bags in a larger container in your fridge to avoid an accidental leak making a mess of your fridge, and then simply put the contents of each one into a plastic container when ready to put one into the lunch.

And if you are worried about the added sugar content of canned or jarred fruit, look for ones packed in water or juice, and avoid the ones that say packed in syrup.

Many kids also loved dried fruit.  And if your local grocery store doesn’t carry much beyond raisins and cranberries, your local health food store will have a huge selection of just about any kind of dried fruit.

So here are some other fruit ideas for lunches that ago above and beyond the traditional tried and true:

  • Mandarin orange slices
  • Canteloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Watermelon
  • Whole mandarins / clementines (a real treat in the spring & summer!)
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries

Don’t forget you can change the fruit experience by freezing them and packing with an ice pack, as they will likely stay mostly frozen by lunchtime.  One of my favorites is frozen grapes!

And adding a low fat yogurt dip can make the fruit an extra treat, and even make some kids feel more like it is a desert!  But avoid caramel dip, or make it an infrequent treat, since it is high in sugar and calories.

You can also put fruit on plastic skewers to mix up the presentation if your child is old enough.

What other ways do you fruit in your child’s lunch?

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This was posted under category: Babies & Kids, Cooking

How much variety is in your brown bag lunches?

Monday, January 5, 2009 2:34 1 Comment

All this week we will be giving great tips and ideas to help you stay on budget by taking your own lunches to school and work, so be sure to subscribe to get all the tips!

The number one reason why people hate to brown bag their lunches is because it seems like it is the “same old, same old”.  And when you are faced with eating the same kind of ham sandwich every day, the temptation to make a lunch run out to McDonalds or to go to a local restaurant is that much stronger.  So variety is important!

So, what ways can you vary up the brown bag routine?  The same deli ham you bought on the weekend will seem different depending on how it is served… maybe whole wheat bread one day and a pita the next.  Or cut up the ham and make a mini pizza with it instead.  Sometimes something as simple as adding cheese or making it with mayo one day and sandwich spread the next can turn a boring sandwich into something new and exciting.

Think the same for the extras in the lunch.  Switch up the juice you include.  Or if you are sending veggies and dip, send ranch dip one day and nacho dip the next.  The same goes for veggies too… if its carrots on Monday, make it brocolli on Tuesday and cucumbers on Wednesday. 

Don’t forget to get input from your kids too… they might happily eat cauliflower with dip every day, rather than switching up with different types, because all kids have veggies they love and veggies they would rather do without, and it is better to increase the odds that any veggies get into their tummies rather than discover that anytime you send carrots they end up in the garbage.


This was posted under category: Babies & Kids, Cooking

Are you buying dangerous baby items second-hand?

Saturday, October 11, 2008 9:14 Comments Off on Are you buying dangerous baby items second-hand?

I have heard the story time and time again where a new mom or mom-to-be buys something at a second hand store or garage sale, only to discover – sometimes too late – that the item was recalled due to a dangerous design flaw.

The one good thing about buying brand new baby items is that most retailers are very aware of recalls, both form the government website as well as from the manufacturers and their suppliers of each product line, so it is very unlikely you will end up buying something brand new that has been recalled.

Some second hand stores are more dilligent than others, particularly consignment store, but there is always the chance something you are buying second hand has been recalled.

But the most dangerous place to buy second hand baby items are at garage sales, because you can be pretty certain they had other things on their mind than thinking to check if anything had been recalled – including some who sell BECAUSE they know its been recalled. 

Want to know the list of things you really should be buying new rather than used?  Here is the list.

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