Monday, March 21, 2011

Cough Remedy: Honey!

An easy (and tasty) cough remedy is a bit of honey. You can either take a tablespoon or mix your honey in hot water as a soothing drink. This is great for kids, just don't give honey to children under 1 years of age, due to the risk of botulism. The Mayo Clinic website even cites a study that concluded "honey appeared to be as effective as the cough suppressant dextromethorphan in typical over-the-counter doses." It is like lotion for your throat, and it is less expensive than cough syrup with none of the side effects. When my daughter wakes in the night with a cough, we give her a bit of warm honey water in a sippy cup, and it usually does the trick!

Friday, December 3, 2010

50% off Melissa & Doug on Amazon!

This is an Amazon daily deal, and there are some great items! My daughter loves her cupcake kit and her magnetic dolls. This time I think I might go for the clock and maybe the sushi set. She LOVES sushi.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yummy Deal: Make Your Own Organic Cereal

Jasmere has a deal today on a website that lets you create your own custom made organic cereal from over 60 ingredients. How fun! It's called [me] & goji cereal.

I just signed up for Jasmere for the first time, but I've seen ads for it before. They spotlight one website a day and offer a stellar deal, good for that day only. Today a $25 gift certificate for [me] & goji cereal is only $10. There is also a cool feature that the more people that order, the lower the price. But $10 is the most you could pay. I'm trying it out. I love cereal, but often for dinner more than breakfast!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Great Amazon Deal on Coconut Oil

Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 15-Ounce Unit (Pack of 2)I keep reading about all the positive benefits of using coconut oil. I haven't tried it before, but this deal is so good that I ordered it immediately! I've read that it is great for frying, for baking, for weight loss, for hair, skin (I'm going to try it on my daughter's dry skin), stress relief, boosting immunity, helping digestive problems, and more!

So here's the deal: has Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 15-Ounce Unit (Pack of 2) for $12.03 (regularly $24). AND if you purchase with Subscribe & Save, the price drops to $10.23 AND you get free shipping!. (Look on the right and click “subscribe now.”) You can cancel the subscribe & save at any time without affecting the first shipment.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Traveling Toddler Car Seat Accessory Connects Your Car Seat to Your Luggage

We've had our 2 year old with us on over 20 flights. This is one of the most helpful travel accessories we own! For $14.99 I thought it might be a waste for one simple strap, but it has made our airport transits so much easier. We don't have to lug a stroller and a car seat. Every trip, parents ask us about it, to the point that we've thought of printing cards with the ordering information. It easily attaches our car seat to our roller bag. Our toddler LOVES riding in the car seat through the airport. She does look a little like a princess doing so, but it sure works, and is better than having to have a stroller or seven arms when trying to navigate an airport. It is safer for your child to be in a car seat in a plane or bus. Since she is used to her car seat, and can't scooch under the straps, I think it is one of the reasons our daughter is such a good plane traveler.

This strap allows you to attach a LATCH and top tether equipped car seat to a rolling carry-on suitcase. You can then push or pull your suitcase like a stroller. It unhooks quite fast for security and boarding. "The Traveling Toddler has been tested with most major car seat brands including Graco, Eddie Bauer, Cosco, Evenflo, and Britax, and a variety of carry-on suitcases and has worked with every combination. If flying, make sure that your car seat is FAA approved before traveling. The Traveling Toddler strap is made from heavyweight polypropylene webbing that will withstand 900 lbs of force. When not in use it easily slips in the pocket of your carry-on."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Village, Seeking Help:

You've probably heard the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." But what do you do when you find yourself without a village or maybe just a few members short? When our sweet daughter arrived, we were living in a city with no family anywhere nearby. I wanted/needed to keep working part-time, and although my husband is a true partner, we needed help to keep things running somewhat smoothly. Being a librarian, I researched child care options and decided that it would be wonderful to have a nanny in the house a few days a week. I found recommendations for and ended up finding an absolutely perfect match to join our village.

Find great sitters and nannies!The site lets you search geographically and by age, two things I appreciated because I really wanted someone with experience to care for our child (since I didn't have much myself!). We sorted through all the listings, used the automatic background checks, read the reviews, and interviewed three people.

It was truly difficult for me to trust someone with our child. I will never forget the first time they left for a walk to the park. I think I sat by the window the entire time. But our nanny loves our child and has taught us so much about raising her. We have the same child rearing philosophies, and it has been wonderful having her in our lives. She truly teaches, and I love the one-on-one interaction. She even takes her to library storytime now that she is older. She is flexible schedule-wise, so if we need an extra day or a longer day or go on vacation, we talk and figure out solutions. They really have fun together, and we are so lucky that she is actually a real British nanny, so she has certifications and schooling on child raising (plus a delightful accent and charming singing voice for ALL the children's songs).

I've also hired house cleaners through the website, with mixed results, as some people didn't reply to our emails. I figure I'd rather pay someone else who is quick and knowledgeable to do some of the tasks I was neglecting, like cleaning my hardword floors and bathrooms properly. I just figure at this point in my life, I'd rather work a few hours doing something I love and be able to hire someone to do the things I really don't enjoy--like toilets. :) Plus our house is our largest investment so it should be well maintained. I figure I'm helping the village too, since it employs someone else. When our daughter was an infant, I hired a company that had a team of 4 people that could come in a do the entire house in an hour, while we went to the park. That was really pricey, however. So now I have someone who comes in for 2 hours a week for $20 an hour that we found on She is really flexible, and will rotate the rooms/tasks based on what we need that week. She gets A LOT more done in those 2 hours than I ever could.

Besides nannies and house cleaners, there are babysitters, senior care providers, tutors, pet care providers, and a new option to try out a child care exchange with another mother. I also like that this site was started by a Mom. The cost is really affordable, especially compared to some of the nanny companies! Right now, it is $30 a month for a premium account which includes free background checks, $60 for 3 months (this is the option I did), and $120 for a full year (saves you 66%). You can also find jobs here, if you are a provider yourself.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to Raise a Foodie Baby

An expectant father (and friend) just asked us for advice on how to raise a foodie baby. This was in response to seeing Miss M. (2 3/4 years old) chow down at my birthday brunch.

First of all, it may not always be possible to raise a foodie baby. I've seen families that have two food loving kids and one very picky child. The debate of nature versus nurture aside, people do have different palates from an early age and sometimes it takes a while to develop adventurous appetites. I love Ethiopian food now, but I can remember being a young teenager and pouting through a Ethiopian meal after whining, "can't I just have a hamburger?"

But what did we do that might encourage this child of ours to love eating almost everything? Well, being foodies ourselves and loving to cook and share food together helps I'm sure. She enjoys watching us cook, and from the time she was an infant we would talk to her while preparing meals, explaining each step. Now she often helps, even if it is just pushing the salad spinner, adding ingredients, or stirring a pot.

All her baby food was homemade, and we followed the Dr.'s advice to introduce veggies first...peas, sweet potatoes, carrots. We just used a stick immersion blender and whirled up steamed veggies, then filled ice cube trays and froze them for use later. It was easy to pull a few out and defrost for her meals. We eat many of our meals with her, so she sees us try new things, share with each other, and talk about the food. She loves trying new foods, with her favorites foods being tofu, cheese (any kind, even goat's milk), raspberries, blueberries, frozen peas (gave her some to help with teething but she still asks for "froze peas," and hey, that's an easy request to honor) and yogurt. She recently went crazy for Red Bore Kale. It WAS delicious, my husband is seriously good with greens.

We also bundled her up at an early age to take to the farmer's market and out to nice restaurants. She is a very well behaved dinner companion. I don't think she's ever cried in a restaurant, it is just too much fun for her and she is fascinated with the comings and goings of the restaurant staff. I can remember her saying, "Where did the man go with my plate?" This weekend we went out for sushi. She said, "I love this place." She is especially fond of miso soup.

The other recommendation I would make is that you don't have to stick to bland food. Let them experiment and see what they like. My mother's rule was always, "You don't have to eat it if you don't like it, but you DO have to try it." M. has had plenty of homemade pasta and cheese, but I think she's only had Kraft once. Never had a pop tart, though her Uncle says he will rectify that soon. She does have sweets occasionally (and dark chocolate is her fave), but I find she is just as happy with a dried apricot. I don't want to keep her from enjoying kiddie favorites, but I feel if I can give her the best foods possiblee to help her grow and flourish, why shouldn't I? I only wish I'd eat as well as she does. :) I also want our meals to be happy events. Not rushed, and if she really doesn't like to eat something, I just take it away. We aren't short order cooks, but we might give her a few choices from other easy things on hand, like a piece of fruit or some raw veggie.

I just found this book on Amazon and will be ordering it. Yes, she does wear a bib, and happily eats what catches there.

Miss M. doesn't like fast food. We don't have it often, but when on a long road trip, we stopped at a McDonald's and she ate one bite of burger, two fries, and then drank all the apple juice. Not into it at all. Perhaps she prefers organic only? Not sure, but I sure do love my little foodie girl.

Food is often an event for us, we savor it and discuss it, we try new foods. Today we found a great Caribbean restaurant and I gave a bit of everything to Miss M. to try. She went crazy for the yams. I was pretty crazy about the jerk chicken.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Natures Garden Delivered: Organic Fruits and Veggies at My Doorstep!

I am a strong supporter of organic foods for many reasons, but sometimes when I'm grocery shopping, it is difficult for me to justify the higher costs. But now I have a wonderful source of organic produce, at a great cost, AND it gets delivered for free to my door every Friday morning. I have tried several of these services, but Natures Garden is my favorite. Easy healthy eating, that is a great Mommy Basic!

Their ordering process is a simple email sent to me every week letting me know what I'll be getting. I can approve the box or I can switch up to three items per week (for example, we don't like grapefruit, so I can switch to another favorite), or I can suspend the service that week. There are no sign-up fees.

The small box is $35 and is plenty for me, my husband and our veggie/fruit loving toddler. The produce has always been gorgeous and fresh. This week we'll be getting:
(Organic Local) APPLE - 3ea Gala
(Organic) BANANA - 2lbs Yellow
(OL) BERRY - 1ea Strawberries
(OL) CARROTS - 1ea Bagged
(OL) CHARD - 1ea Green
(OL) CUCUMBER - 0.75lbs Green
(OL) LETTUCE - 1ea Red Romaine
(OL) ONION - 0.5lbs Yellow
(OL) ORANGE - 3ea Valencias
(OL) PEACH - 2ea Peach
(O) PEAR - 3ea D'Anjou
(O) POTATO - 1.5lbs Russet
(OL) SPINACH - 1ea Spinach

Sometimes there are interesting things to try, and you can also add other items, like fresh bread, granola, olive oil, coffee, tea, etc. They are a zero waste facility which means they either recycle or compost virtually all of their waste. Plus they use Biobags, an alternative to the plastic bag which is fully biodegradable.

Now for the savings! You can save 20% off your first order by entering coupon code NGD CARDS during your sign up at Natures Garden Delivered. Enter my name, Stephanie Gerding, in the "How did you hear of us" section of the sign-up process too, please, as I'll get free products for every two sign ups!

If you aren't in the Phoenix area, look into other organic delivery options. Sometimes there a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs that will have pick up locations, if they don't do delivery.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Plum Tots Sale on Amazon: Save up to 55%

Save up to 55% on select Plum Tots baby foods sold by Save 40% when you enter code PLUMTOT5 at checkout. Plus, save an additional 15% when you combine the instant rebate with a Subscribe & Save order--bringing your total savings to 55%. You can immediately cancel the subscription plus get free shipping. Offer valid through May 31, 2010.

I ordered a case of the fiddlesticks last year when this sale was going on. My daughter loved them and they are a quick and easy organic snack.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Entertainment Book

I bought an Entertainment Book this year, not knowing if I'd really use it. I'm not great at remembering to use coupons when going out at night. But there are four $5 off $50 at Safeway, so I already used two of those. Then tonight, we got a free game of AMF bowling AND $5 off our dinner at Macayo's. Nice!

Plus it was my daughter's first time bowling!

Coupons for Wine!

Today was the first time my husband sent me a coupon link. I've been surprised to find coupons for wine and liquor lately. I haven't been following the coupon world for long, but hey, saving money is saving money! This is for one of our favorite wineries...Ravenswood. Love their Zin and their motto, "No wimpy wines." So here is a coupon for 15% off online or $1.50 printed (at least that is what I got when I selected AZ). Thanks Ravenswood!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Three Free Mom's Day Photo Cards at Shutterfly

Shutterfly is offering 3 free photo 5x7 Mother's Day Cards. You do have to pay shipping but I had all 3 shipped to me, and it only cost me $1.02 for all 3! They have some cute designs that you can use with multiple photos. I made one for my Mom, my mother-in-law, and a close friend, all with fun photos of my daughter playing outside.

Use code CARDS4MOM at checkout to get the discount OR if you like to see the credit first, like I do:

•Login or register with Shutterfly.
•Click on “My Shutterfly”.
•Scroll down and click “Enter Special Code Offer”.
•Enter code CARDS4MOM to get your credit!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Take a Mommy Break at Aveda

I still have to remind myself that taking a break is a good idea. My husband is REALLY good at nudging me though. Whether it is a massage, lunch with a friend, or a walk by yourself, taking a break can really put things into perspective and help you to energize. So many women get lost in new mommyhood, as it is completely consuming. You have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others, right? I relish moments of quiet calm.

So I like this deal!! Let's see if I can get myself to an Aveda to have this treat.

Print this coupon and head for some relaxation at an Aveda salon or store. The FREE Aveda Stimulus Package includes:

•Free Aroma Sensory Journey
•Free Cup of Comforting Tea
•Free Stress-Relieving Hand Ritual
•Free 5-minute Stress-Relieving Neck and Shoulder Massage
•Free Makeup Finishing Touch
No purchase necessary, offer expires 6/30/10. (That SHOULD be enough time for me to get there!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 and Cloth Pull-ups

There have been a few times that I've been really in a time crunch and turned to to help with keeping our home supplied with baby necessities. really delivered, in fact, they were on my doorstep over night and FOR FREE (with a $49 purchase). What a relief. I've ordered diapers, but also Bumkins bibs, my favorite baby foam shampoo by Mustela, and Babyganics Organic Lavendar Foaming Hand Soap.

I read about Bambino Mio Cloth Training Pants, and was the only place I found them available online. And even then, they were often sold out. We are using these with potty training, and they are really soft, durable and easy. Though for some reason, my dd really likes them for pooping! Ack.

The other nice thing is the instant online coupons on the website that you just have to click on to save. Usually $1-$2. You can also mail in paper coupons and they will add them to your account. It seems like there are always plenty of sales. Right now Seventh Generation is 10% off and newborn diapers are 20% off.

If you'd like to try, you can receive $10 off your first order of diapers ($49 minimum total order) when you enter my referral code at checkout AND through April, you'll get a $5 credit on your second order. Referral Code: SKRA8868.

If you spend $75 or more, you'll get a one-year subscription (11 issues) to Parenting Early Years (a $10.00 value) OR you can ask for a $10 rebate. So that means you could save $20 on your first order plus more with coupons and sales!

Free sample of a biodegradable trash bag

This just makes sense to me. Can't wait to try it. Their website says Green Genius Bags:

• are just as puncture-resistant as leading bags
• are priced the same as regular bags
• meet ASTM D5511, which certifies their bags biodegrade under landfill conditions

Get your free sample and $2.00 coupon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I had high hopes for using cloth diapers once upon a time, but those plans never materialized. Instead, I just tried to keep up with all the other newborn needs. I did try gDiapers, but while they looked cute, I still needed easier diaper changing. I think they may have a new design though.

Even though we are approaching an end to diaper buying (I'm just going to keep saying that until it is true), I'm tempted by this deal:

1 FREE bumGenius All-In-One cloth diaper with the purchase of $10 or more of any bumGenius, Flip or Econobum products (including accessories).

Most of the time, we bought huge boxes of Kirkland brand diapers from Costco, and loved them. Then I started couponing and found I could get better deals on Pampers and Huggies. I still feel a bit guilty about all those diapers in the landfill...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Babies R Us Clothing Deal

I don't normally buy clothes at Babies R Us, but this sounds like a really good deal. I don't have one close by, but I may make a trek to stock up on play clothes.

Thru April 22, you can print this .pdf coupon for a free tote bag AND 25% extra off all the clothing and shoes you can stuff in it! I think it includes clearance items too. The coupon does indicate that quantities are limited and valid on sizes newborn-48 months.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Free Mozart Song Downloads

I've had an ipod forever that I haven't been using. Now I've started loading it with free kids music for Maddie. It works great with a speaker to have quick music. And I keep finding free downoads. Here is my latest find. Download 50+ FREE Mozart songs for babies and toddlers from Munchkin. There are 2 different albums, or you can choose to download the songs individually.
These Mozart favorites have been developed and arranged by Dr. Norman M. Weinberger, a renowned neurobiologist, and Jimmie Haskell, a 3-time GRAMMY® award winner.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Camilia: relief from teething and grumpiness

Camilia is a homeopathic teething soother. It was magic for our daughter as it quickly calmed her. I ordered mine from Boirin, the kind in the "single-use oral doses," shown here. You just squeeze it into their mouth. It is for 4 months and older and helps with irritability as well. It has no side effects and no risk of overdose, no sugar, no alchol, no preservatives. This one is made in France. I ordered lots. :) Hmm, maybe I should try it on myself.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Care for a cup of tea?

I'm a big tea drinker, every day in fact. Mostly black tea in the morning, but I love green tea in the afternoon or evening. I read about the antioxidants, heart benefits, rumors of help with weight loss...all sounds great, but I love the relaxation of a cup of tea. So here's a great deal. I signed up for it a while ago, and received 4 free tea bags in a really lovely tea bag carrier that can be re-used and is perfect for traveling.

Get a FREE Lipton Green Tea sample pack containing 4 tea bags of the flavor you select. Choose from:

•Lipton Mixed Berry Green Tea
•Lipton Orange, Passionfruit & Jasmine Green Tea
•Lipton 100% Natural Decaffeinated Honey Lemon Green Tea
•Lipton Green Tea with Citrus

Just wait for the banner to load completely, and then you can click on it to get your FREE sample!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Arnica: Help for toddler bumps and bruises!

Arnica is an amazing homeopathic cream or gel that helps with bruises and bumps. It is amazing. Maddie bonks her head hard or wacks her leg on the furniture, and we rub it on, and no bruise! Now if she gets an owie she says, "Put lotion on it!" It works for adults too, if you remember to put it on right away. Every medicine cabinet could use this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Back to the Basics Without the Guilt, Doubts, and Self-Criticisms!

One important reason I decided to start this blog is because of the many stories I've heard from moms who think they aren't good enough. And yes, I have been there! There have been times I've thought that every other mom at the park had it WAY more together than I did. But I'm happy to say that I'm feeling MUCH better about mommyhood now.

I realized that every mother is different, and we just have to learn to accept ourselves. You have to be yourself and celebrate what you like doing and what works for YOU. For me, as a new mom, it was a huge new role that I didn't feel I quite understood. Was I bad mom b/c I don't LIKE sitting in a huge sand pit with toddlers? Was I bad mom b/c I need some quiet time alone each day? Could I balance protecting my child against growing her into an independent woman? Did I need a new mommy wardrobe? Everyone has different likes and dislikes, and I found I just needed to incorporate those things into day-to-day life and let the rest go.

Balance is really important and everyone talks about it. For me, being a part-time library consultant and a part-time stay-at-home mom is the right balance for me at this time in my life. When darling daughter is in school that might change. At this point, I would go insane if I were a full time stay-at-home mom and I would go insane if I worked full-time. With a little of each, I appreciate my child and my work a lot more. For another woman, another balance is best, and that is what is right for her. This whole debate about working or not working as a mother just demeans us, not just as women but as basic people. And sometimes, of course, there is no choice about whether we can decide to not work--bills have to paid. But an unhappy mother, unfulfilled mother doesn't help a family.

There are some parts of motherhood I feel I'm really good at, and other parts that I am still striving towards. And there are some times that I have to rely on others to fulfill my dauthter's needs.

Most mothers do the best they can, and I really feel that by trying to keep the basics in mind, we can have the balance we need. Focusing on love, health, fun, learning, and on how we can help our children become the best people they can...that's Mommy Basics for me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Number One Favorite Mommy Basic Product!

This Fisher-Price booster seat is my all time favorite baby product!

1) It saves space--no high chair to add to your room. It fits on to every kind of chair I've tried. We just use our regular dining chair.
2) Clean-up is sooo easy, it just wipes off or you can put the tray in the dishwasher. The seat is all one piece and there are no seams or crevices for food to get stuck in or fabric to get stained.
3) It is highly portable. We take it to restaurants or on trips. Lightweight too!
4) It's safe. The seat has a three-point seatbelt that adjusts, so it can accomodate a growing baby and toddler. As they grow, you can convert it into a plain booster seat as well.
5) Kids love it. The tray is handy not just for food, but also for toys, and crayon marks wipe right off. Our daughter LOVES it and will sit happily for a good long meal with us. What could be more BASIC than a family eating a meal together.
6) The price is great!

We have one at Grandma's and now at Auntie's. I wish all restaurants carried this instead of those said wooden ones that are groddy AND enable table cloth snatching. There are three different height settings. This chair is inexpensive enough that you could even buy two and always keep one in the trunk of your car for going out.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome to Mommy Basics!

This blog shares what I know about the basics of mommyhood AND serves as a reminder to myself that sometimes the basics--the simple, low-stress, quality, creative, loving--aspects of parenting are really what is important.

I'll share and recommend:
  • healthy, easy recipes and food preparation tips,
  • parenting advice,
  • fun activities for families,
  • easy ways to save money,
  • favorite books for kids and parents (I'm a librarian, after all),
  • basic products that I've found to be affordable and worthwhile,
  • travel tips (my 21 month old has been on almost 20 flights!).
My hope is that you will contribute tips as well, since I'm not an expert on all of this, but I am committed to trying to keep the "basics" in mind while living our lives. My goals for my family include good health, learning opportunities, peace and calm sometimes while dancing and rowdiness other times, planned yet flexible schedules, saving money while still having quality, and lots and lots of smiles and happiness! Let's get back to basics!!