This Sun Shade is EZ!


When husband and I were expecting our daughter we rushed out to complete our baby registry. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted a sun shade. I’ve been driving since I was 16, nearly two decades, and I have probably seen thousands of cars driving along with sun shades. Popular characters, “Baby on board!” warnings, retractable, adhesive – there are too many variations to count. I’m not particularly in favor of inundating a baby with character and color choices they haven’t made themselves so I wanted something more subtle and neutral. Husband and I grabbed the first thing we saw, a removable, reusable, plastic-coated shade that magically adhered itself to the window. It did the trick but it was not optimal. We quickly learned that sliding the window down was not an option. This wasn’t a huge deal when baby was an infant as we didn’t often have the occasion to roll her window down but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this was not a permanent solution.

Enter the EZ-Bugz Giraffe Design Premium Car Window Sun Shades! I nearly jumped at the opportunity to review this set of shades!

EZ Sun Shade - Motherhood Community

I never thought about a sun shade having suction cups on either side. It’s genius! The clip part of the suction cup, if you can call it that, is just slightly loose fitting so *if* the shade bumps against something the shade can slide a bit through it’s clips. I put it to the test:

There really isn’t too much you can say about a sun shade. I’m not in a position to test the effectiveness of the UV ray protection as I don’t have a laboratory at my disposal. However I can certainly feel the difference between allowing the sun to shine directly on my arm and having it filter through the shade. And my baby absolutely adores the cute giraffe on the shade. She shouts “rafe!” every time she sits in the car. I love that she is familiarizing herself with an animal and not a commercial character. This shade is exactly what we needed for our car. If you are in need of a shade or find yourself shopping for a fabulous baby shower gift, do check this out.

Pick up your own Premium Car Window Sun Shades today!

Win An Old Spice Holiday Smellcome to Manhood Kit!

Defining Dad and Double Duty Divas have partnered with Old Spice to bring you this awesome giveaway!

The Old Spice Holiday Special

When it comes to holiday gift-giving, there are always a few obvious “go-tos.” Chocolate. Clothes. Body products. It’s in this last category that Old Spice has created a new line of items that are bound to become a holiday staple. While deodorants and sprays have been around for some time, Old Spice’s Re-fresh body spray is heralding a new age of “manly” scents that is sure to delight those that receive it this holiday season. As men grow up and learn that occasionally bathing and body products are necessary, its good to know that Old Spice is continuing to lead the charge in the battle to keep men from smelling awful. Introducing Old Spice early in a man’s life can positively effect his confidence and help him make it through the day. The Re-fresh line of body spray offers a great way to “gift a boy into a man.”

Gift a boy into a man!

If you’re interested in testing your luck, Defining Dad is offering a giveaway for a “Old Spice Holiday Smellcome to Manhood” kit. We have a variety of options to enter, but the more you enter the more chances you have to win this fabulous prize! I don’t know about you, but as we near the holidays I’d pre-buy a kit for your loved one(s) and sign up for this kit yourself. It’s selfish, I know, but you can’t let others hog all the Old Spice glory, can you?

Old Spice Holiday Smellcome to Manhood kit includes:

  • Old Spice Re-fresh Body Spray – The gift that keeps on giving, one spray at a time. Be among the first to enjoy new Old Spice Timber – the best way to get that lumberjacky smell without working at a local tree lot.
  • Old Spice T-Shirt – The manliest chest tattoo on the planet without the regret when you turn 60.
  • Old Spice Branded Earbuds – Silence mom’s singing in the car. You’re welcome.
  • Bear Paws Meat Tool – Cutlery your dad, his friend Dave and Uncle John will be impressed with when you’re given the reins to carve the holiday bird.
  • Duct Tape – Fix anything on the planet, except holiday lights, where only half the strand works.
  • Art of Manliness Book – Full of wisdom and New Year’s Resolutions.
  • “Scent Responsibly” Instructions – Nothing will earn you grandma’s fruitcake faster than overspraying. Thanks to Old Spice Re-fresh technology – where one spray lasts all day – you can smell like a man and not a middle school locker room.
  • Smellcome to Manhood Certificate – A made-up diploma for the inside of your locker or to add to your LinkedIn profile.

How to Hanukkmas

In our house we celebrate the holiday season. We write Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings on our holiday cards for a reason – because our holiday is not just Christmas or just Hanukkah, it’s a blend. We celebrate the season. That means we give gifts a little differently too. Whether it be gelt or small gifts, we do small things the first eight gift occasions with the biggest surprises on the last night. Most years the last night is Christmas but some years it’s the last night of Hanukkah. We don’t have an advent calendar, we have a regular calendar that has all the holidays on it and we cross each day off, 365 days a year.

How to Hanukkmas - Motherhood Community

Hanukkmas Gifts

For me, the most difficult part of celebrating Hanukkmas is finding a way to NOT spend a fortune! Some families celebrate Hanukkah by giving just gelt each of the first night saving all the gifts for the end. Others do one small gift each of the first nights with the major gift last. Still others go wild for eight days in a row. When your family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, things can get very pricey very fast. Perhaps you’ll gift gelt for seven nights, a gift or gifts on the eighth, and the biggest surprises for the end at Christmas. But what if Christmas falls somewhere in the middle of Hanukkah? (It will in 2016!) Look, if you’re a parent there’s probably one thing you know to be true: you must be flexible. I’m all about traditions but Hanukkah comes a different time each year so it simply can’t be set in stone.

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I was raised in a secular household. That is to say, we were not particularly religious. We did celebrate most holidays though – Passover, Easter, Rosh Hashana, Christmas, and Hanukkah – just without any religious references. As an adult I learned about Secular Judaism, people who identify themselves as Jewish without necessarily practicing the religion, so that’s what I call myself now – a Secular Jew. I think culture, tradition, and honoring our ancestors are important concepts to instil in children so it’s important to me that Husband and I continue to practice all of the holidays we were raised with. But it’s also important that we practice them honestly. We are not a religious family so religion is not part of our holidays. Lots of people celebrate Christmas without religion but, you may be wondering, how does one celebrate the *miracle* of lights without religion?

Hanukkah without Religion

Well it’s really not all that complicated. We talk about the history. Whether or not the oil actually lasted for eight nights may be in dispute but there’s no disputing the fact that the temple was destroyed and the Jewish people went through a great deal in Egypt. So we talk about what happened oh so long ago and how people had to struggle and persevere. We spend time with out loved ones and talk about how easy life is now compared to what people went through long ago. And we eat chocolate.

We also read a lot of books. Since Christmas is still the prevalent holiday in winter, I think it’s important that we show our daughter that celebrating Hanukkmas is just as normal as celebrating only one or the other. So in addition to the Christmas books and the Hanukkah books, we read books about celebrating both holidays as well as some books about all the winter holidays around the world.

Books About Celebrating Both Holidays

Books About Holidays Around the World

If you’re looking for some gifts to help your little ones recognize the concepts of Hanukkah (since Christmas is most of what you see in the media), we recommend the following:

Our Favorite Hanukkah Supplies for Babies and Toddlers

So there you have it, that’s how we celebrate the holidays in our house.

How do you celebrate the holidays?

A Nursing Cover Even I Would Use

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I am a proponent of nursing in public whenever, wherever, and however you feel comfortable. I do not advocate covers for the sake of covers. After all, until recently, I had never successfully used a breastfeeding cover.

Before my daughter was born, I didn’t really give it much thought but when she was an infant and I was out at a restaurant with a Moms group I grabbed a receiving blanket to drape over her because that’s what everyone else was doing. I quickly learned that she was not interested in being covered up. She fought like mad. It only took a few attempts before I gave up and accepted the fact that my baby would never nurse under a cover. Heck, this is sunny and HOT Florida – who can blame her?

So, for over 19 months now I have nursed uncovered. I have body issues so at first I was very self-conscious. However, after just a few attempts at juggling my large breasts and a demanding baby while trying to maintain some amount of modesty tugging at my shirt, I gave up. My daughter’s head was always covering my nipple so, at worst, the only parts of my body that were visible to onlookers were the same parts of the body that would be visible if I were wearing a bikini. But that didn’t stop onlookers from giving me dirty looks.

I don’t think anyone should feel like they have to use a cover when breastfeeding. But there have been occasions where I just didn’t want to deal with the idiots and wished I had a comfortable cover that my baby would tolerate. Have you ever felt that way? Or maybe, as some friends have told me, you are truly uncomfortable with random strangers getting an eyeful of your unmentionables. Well, my friends, have I found something amazing to share with you.

Nursing Cover - Motherhood Community

Nursing Cover 3I cannot tell you how much I like the Boho Mama Luxury Breastfeeding Nursing Cover (Gray). It is light weight so I can actually use it in Florida. It’s soft and snuggly so baby likes cuddling against it. I was able to lay it across my chest to cover my cleavage without having to actually put it over my baby. You can see that she didn’t mind it at all. It’s just like another layer of my shirt.

But what I like best of all is the amazing versatility of this wrap. Check out this video with several options for styling it:

Because it folds down to such a compact size, you can really toss it in your diaper bag and just grab it when you need it. Or, you can use it to accent your outfit.

If you are in the market for a nursing cover, I encourage you to look at the Boho Mama Luxury Breastfeeding Nursing Cover (Gray). I think you will find it to be an excellent option.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Foaming Monster – A Chemical Reaction

One of the things I love most about the Montessori process is that everything is introduced in a subtle way. I remember growing up in the traditional school system where the teacher scrawled a topic across the blackboard and we braced ourselves in preparation for a complicated lesson. Every week our Montessori school invites the parents to have coffee and chat not only about Montessori but also parenting or any other subject that comes up. We also get treated to a lesson from one of the classrooms. We get to see how the subject matter is presented and then we get to see the children work through practice exercises. I have seen examples of how they present phonics, geometry, decimals – all kinds of subjects – and each time it is stimulating, intuitive, and natural. The teacher asks questions or tells a story to sort of prep the topic and then leads the children to figuring out the next step.

Now that my daughter is 19 months old (WOAH!) the husband and I are starting to look for fun and natural ways that we can introduce new concepts like the way we work on colors and shapes with polyhedral dice. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a consultant for Usborne Books so I often turn to my bookshelf for inspiration. A few weeks ago I reviewed 100 Science Experiments and found the Foaming Monster science experiment which I am going to share with you now.

Foaming Monster

Here’s the description from the book explaining the science behind this experiment:

“When you mix acids and alkalis together, they make new chemicals. Some combinations, such as vinegar and baking soda, make a gas. Watch this chemical reaction at work.” (p 56)

What is a Chemical Reaction

A chemical reaction is what happens when you cause one or more chemicals (also called reactants or reagents) to change into a different chemical. This can be a complicated scenario – as in nuclear chemistry where electronic and nuclear changes are produced in unstable and radioactive elements – or a simple scenario using everyday items you probably already have at home. This foaming monster experiment is a great introduction not only to chemical reactions but also to the concept of cause and effect – and learning that science really is fun!

What you’ll need

  • water bottle
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • tape
  • vinegar
  • food coloring
  • dish soap
  • baking soda
  • tissue or toilet paper (one ply if you have it)
  • funnel (optional)

How to do it

Empty a water bottle and decorate it with construction paper. (Use your scissors to cut the paper and the tape to attach it to the bottle.) Pour vinegar into the bottle until it is 1/3 to 1/2 full. (This is when you might want a small funnel.) Add one drop of food coloring and a dash of soap. Swirl to mix. Pour one heaping tablespoon of baking soda into your tissue and twist the ends to loosely close the paper.

When you are ready to create your monster, drop the tissue paper into the bottle. It will take a few minutes for the ingredients to fully mix.

See our monster!


Baby Grabs the Monster - Motherhood CommunityI think this is a great activity to do with children of any age. Our daughter enjoys bubbles in general so she was excited to see the foam pour out of the monster and though she doesn’t fully understand yet, she did witness that a change took place. This is one of those things you can do over and over as time goes by and reiterate what is happening so that the child starts to recognize the changes. When you are doing this with older children you can discuss how the chemical reaction creates a gas.

As a co-host of the Geeky Educational Link Up I publish an educational post with a science and/or geeky twist every Tuesday. At the bottom of these posts you’ll find links to other interesting and fun educational posts. I hope you enjoy the ride!

My favorite posts from last week’s link up were:

Introducing my Co-hosts!

I co-host the Geeky Educational Link Up along with some great writers. You can find out a bit more about each co-host by reading our bios over at More Than A Coupon Queen, the host site. Take a look at their blogs each week. Some of these blogs also post some great geek projects and Science projects! Rules of the Galactic Highway from More Than A Coupon Queen


OLED TV: With Best Buy You Can Live in the Future

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

The holidays are HERE and it’s time to get shopping! Whether you are seeking the perfect gift for your spouse, your family, or just something amazing to treat yourself, a stunning OLED TV is the perfect gift!

What the Heck is an OLED TV Anyway??

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, which is to say, that it’s the most current form of digital display, offering flexibility and superb display quality which uses the properties of bioluminescence! If you’re interested, Wikipedia has a great deal of information related to OLEDs here. But if you want the quick and dirty explanation, I’ll tell you what – this is the TV you dreamed about when you were watching Back to the Future Part II! Only instead of the bulky video glasses that Marty McFly, Jr. wore, an LG 3D OLED TV comes with four pairs of lightweight 3D glasses!

Where can you find a great deal on an OLED TV?

While OLEDs are still very new to the market Best Buy is offering a nice selection of LG branded televisions, all of which will offer a spectacular image. The stunning design of an LG OLED TV is only 0.21″ thick at its thinnest point. LG’s exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors. You can learn more about the OLED televisions available from Best Buy, at their site but I’ll break it down for you real fast right here:

  • Infinite contrast ratio and stunning color – delivers more natural, lifelike viewing.
  • 4 Color Pixel technology enhances color range and accuracy.
  • Super thin design.
  • WebOS helps you find content faster.

Best Buy offers an amazing everyday price of $3499.99 on the 55″ LG OLED TV.

That’s right, today and every day you save $500 when you buy from Best Buy.

Your first kiss. A baby’s first steps. The majesty of a desert sunset. Some things in life defy all explanation and must be experienced to be believed. Such is the case with LG’s latest display technology. With deeper and richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens, it is unlike any technology you’ve ever seen, and it delivers a picture that exceeds your wildest imagination.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can now do our exercises in front of a 3D flat screen television just like Jane Jetson! We really do live in the future!

You can own a stunning 55″ curved, 1080p, smart, 3D OLED TV of your very own RIGHT NOW! Best Buy’s everyday price is just $3499.99 (save $500)!

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Win A $50 Gift Certificate to Montessori Services!

Montessori Gift Certificate Giveaway - Motherhood Community

I recently reviewed a Window Washing Activity Set from For Small Hands / Montessori Services. You can read about the benefits of fostering independence through educational activities in my review. Together with Montessori Services.com and For Small Hands I am sponsoring an exciting giveaway right on time to jump start your holiday shopping!

One lucky reader will win a $50 Gift Certificate to use at either montessoriservices.com or forsmallhands.com, their choice. Enter today and come back daily for more chances to participate!

A big thank you to montessoriservices.com and For Small Hands for providing this excellent prize!

Good luck!

This giveaway is part of the Geeky Giveaway Blog Hop going on through November 14th.
Geeky Giveaway Blog Hop



Geeky Independence

When we found out about the Montessori method, we knew right away that it was a great fit for our family. We were already practicing elimination communication and baby led weaning, two processes that closely align with the Montessori method, and we knew that we wanted to teach our daughter by modeling behavior and showing her how to do things for herself. She is absolutely in love with going to school and I firmly believe that is because of all the practical life activities she gets to do on a daily basis. At 18 months she is always discovering new tasks that she can complete on her own. She zips and unzips her bags, fastens and unfastens the Velcro on her shoes, pours her own water from her tiny pitcher, and so much more. I think what she enjoys most though is that she gets to “work” with her friends every day.

When the school sent home a catalog from Montessori Services I was thrilled to start looking through it! I am always looking for ways to help transform our home into a practical learning environment. I was even more excited when Montessori Services was kind enough to provide a promotional item for me to review.

One of my daughter’s favorite activities at school is washing windows so that is the item I chose to receive for my review.

The minute we opened the package she was ready to get to work!

As you can see, my daughter not only enjoys cleaning the windows but you can actually see how proud she is that she is helping out.

I am extremely impressed with the quality of this item. Generally Montessori tools are made from wood for a variety of reasons but there is no logical reason to make a cleaning caddy out of wood. One might be concerned about the durability of a plastic item but there is no reason to worry about this set. The caddy is structured well so it can easily hold any weight that a small child can carry. Additionally, the plastic bottle hasn’t had any issues with getting clogged. Most of all, I love that the four cloths that come with the set are absorbent and thick. I would have been disappointed to receive paper thin cloths.

One of the main reasons the Montessori method teaches through practical life activities is to foster independence, self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility. When a child can not only help out around the house but help in a way that they can actually see the impact of their work, it goes a long way towards meeting those goals.

Of course, we have to put a geeky spin on everything that happens in our house. Husband, being something of an artist, painted a little TARDIS on the window so that our daughter has something to aim her spray bottle at!

The Window Washing Activity is just one of the many amazing products you will find at For Small Hands and Montessori Services. You can pick up your own Window Washing Activity right here OR enter the giveaway that Montessori Services and For Small Hands are sponsoring over here!

As a co-host of the Geeky Educational Link Up I publish an educational post with a science and/or geeky twist every Tuesday. At the bottom of these posts you’ll find links to other interesting and fun educational posts. I hope you enjoy the ride!

My three favorite posts from last week’s link up were:

Introducing my Co-hosts!

I co-host the Geeky Educational Link Up along with some great writers. You can find out a bit more about each co-host by reading our bios over at More Than A Coupon Queen, the host site. Take a look at their blogs each week. Some of these blogs also post some great geek projects and Science projects! Rules of the Galactic Highway from More Than A Coupon Queen


After My Miscarriage

Pregnancy Announcement - Facebook Cover Photo - Motherhood Community

Pregnancy Announcement - Facebook Profile Photo - Motherhood CommunityI was pregnant with baby #2. For almost five weeks, I was in the Second-Time-Mom club. On Sunday night I came out of the pregnant closet as hubby and I made our Facebook announcement. On Monday afternoon I started spotting.

That evening I posted in my pregnancy support group that I felt stupid for having announced and that if a single person told me that’s why I shouldn’t have announced so early I was likely to punch someone in the face. Everyone replied that a face punch would be the appropriate response to such a remark. 😀

A friend sent me a link to a wonderful blog post. The author was approaching the end of her first trimester and had remained silent about her happy news the whole time even though she thought that if something happened it would be better to have a support network. That’s pretty much how I felt last time. I was about a week or two shy of the second trimester when we made our public announcement but we had been telling friends and family for weeks. I wanted to tell the world earlier but I couldn’t handle the stigma associated with announcing during the first trimester. I even had a couple close friends react with surprise when I told them. They were concerned about what I would do if something happened. What indeed? This is one of the most interesting points in the article I just read:

The most alarming thing I’ve heard from friends who’ve had miscarriages is their surprise (only upon miscarrying) at hearing about how many of their friends, aunts, cousins, sisters, mothers and grandmothers have had them, too. If miscarriages are so common, why do we hide them behind a wall of shame and silence? If women could announce their pregnancies immediately, wouldn’t we learn that a pregnancy is truly awesome and terrifying and precarious and unknown — that anything can and does happen, and that women deserve all the love and support and understanding that comes with the act of trying to make another human being? (Source)

And that’s why I’m writing today. In the last couple of days I have told a few people about the spotting and the fact that things weren’t looking good. And today I’ve shared the sad news that the test results came back and I am definitely having a miscarriage. Almost every single person I confided in replied that they had also had a miscarriage. The few women that hadn’t replied that their mother/sister/aunt/cousin/or BFF had. In other words, I don’t think I know a single woman that has not had a miscarriage or had a close family member or friend that had a miscarriage. Why is that? Probably because 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage.

october-is-infant-loss-monthSo, chances are, someone you love has been through this. And how did your loved one cope with the loss? Did they have the support of their closest family and friends bringing them casseroles, ice cream, and/or hugs or did they cry alone in the bath? (Not to say that those two coping methods are mutually exclusive, just that it’s nice to have options.)

Of course, my husband is also mourning the loss. And if you think there is a lack of support for women, imagine what it must be like for the men. Society already expects them to hide their emotions and put on a brave face. When their partners suffer a miscarriage, where do they turn for support? Of course we have each other, but it helps to talk to people that have been through it and come out on the other side.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. A couple of weeks ago my Facebook News Feed was full or candles, ribbons, and memories. I wasn’t sure what to say in response. I certainly wasn’t eager to join the club. But I am glad that I saw my friends supporting each other. Now I am remembering all that support and it makes this process easier.

If my last pregnancy had ended this early, I would have been crying alone (at least until husband came home from work). This time I was determined not to cower under the veil of secrecy and as hard as it is going to be to update my Facebook status, I know that doing so will result in an outpouring of love and support. Which will, no doubt, make me cry. Probably in the bathtub. But they will be bittersweet tears of both sadness and joy knowing that I have people thinking of me and mourning the loss by my side.