Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 10 Gifts For A New Mom

10. A plush bathroom set (robe, slippers etc)

9. Spa botanical such as bubble bath and lotions.

8. A large handbag that can double as a diaper bag

7. A sewing machine or mannequin

6. Movie Tickets

5. Deluxe cookware

4. A gift card to Frederick's of Hollywood or Victoria's Secret

3. A make-up kit or chi flat iron

2. Digital photo frame

1. Digital camera or Camcorder

The Best & Worst Places To Shop For Toys


1.Toys R Us - The isles are organized by age range. If you shop online there are two age ranges, the manufacturer's age recommendation and the Toys R Us recommendation. Follow the store age range. There is also the largest variety I have seen. Be sure to use the discount card to save money and earn rewards.

Con- Not a very generous return policy. The staff is not always helpful.

2. Walgreens - This one is a shocker for some of you. But Walgreens owns the corner market on games, travel toys and classic toys for a great price.

Con- Most stores have no returns.

3. Target - If you can find a super Target then shop there for the toys. You will be able to make a return without a problem and won't have to fight a bargain crowd.

Con - Selection can be poor depending on the size of the Target.


1. Walmart - Often times people have opened the packages and stolen key components of the toys. The staff is not at all helpful.

Con - Chances are the cheapest place that is closest to you is a Walmart and not a Target.

2. Costco - The selection is horrible.

Con - You will miss out on the best return policy.

3. Babies r Us - People say it is the same as Toys R Us. It isn't. The baby toys are grossly overpriced.

Con - The high prices allow you to stack up more rewards on your card.

Christmas Shopping For Someone Else's Children

You don't have children but someone in your life does. You want to give their little ones a gift but aren't quite sure what to buy. There are so many recalls and safety warnings that you couldn't keep them straight even if you tried. Here's some help.


The first thing to know is that newborn is 0-3 months in the toy and baby clothing world. For the rest of the world newborn is technically up to 6 months. Everyone 12 months and younger is an infant. Everyone 12-18 months and older is a toddler. If you decide to buy for a newborn by the clothing in the last month of their range. For example, Carter's makes clothes that come in Newborn and 3 months. This means the Newborn size fits preemie up to newborn sizes. The 3 months size fits newborn to 3 months. Many tags show the weight of the baby that could fit the outfit. By purchasing the larger of the sizes you allow the baby time to wear the gift longer.

Now that you have the sizing what clothing should you buy?

If you're the practical gift giver then layette sets, shoes, socks, Onesies, mix and match sets, beanies and blankets are your best bet. If you are the expensive gift giver then opt for the flashy outfit from a designer. If you are the fun gift giver don't give clothes at all. Give toys.

What kind of toys?

Baby gyms (floor mats), rattles, glow worm, stuffed animals, kick and play, toys that sing, toys that light up.

Make it easy on yourself and look at the age on the packaging. The rule of thumb is to shop ahead of the baby's age. For a newborn get a toy for a 3 month old. For a 3 month old buy a toy that says 3-6 months or 6-9 months.


In the clothing world a toddler's size is represented by the letter T. The sizes typically range from 2T to 5T. This usually coincides with the child's age. Again, shop ahead one size.

For toys, follow the same age guideline as when buying toys for a baby. If you buy the child something that makes sound, keep the parents in mind. If it sounds like something that would be annoying if you heard it 100 times in 10 minutes then you should leave it on the shelf because the parents certainly will. Always remember that the parents are the ones who have to deal with it This also applies to artistic toys. Markers, crayons, Play-Doh are all headaches for most parents. Use your best judgment here.


Children clothing sizes are based mostly on age. There is no T as with toddler sizes. If the child is thin and tall you may want to may want to buy belts for the pants or buy the shirts separate from the pants. For example, my son is turn five in the spring. He is as tall as a 5 year old. He is very thin however. We buy his shirts true to size, size 4. Then we buy his pants one size up for length and add a belt. The other thing to know is that a thin child can still wear a T size. My size 4 can also wear a 4T.

Toys are a little tricky. For children it goes by range, 5-7 etc. Sometimes children would rather continue to play with a toy that was intended for a younger child and sometimes they are more advanced and prefer older toys. Also, at about 5 years old children begin to see toys on tv and shout, "I want that!" Don't listen to them. They have no idea what they want. Use your instincts and keep the receipt.


Gift cards. Plain and simple. Some teens wear adult sizes and some wear tween or even children's. Teens are fickle. They beg you for a green IPod then see the black one and pout because they wish they'd asked for the black one. Just buy them a gift card to a place that they frequent regularly.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Ways To Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

President Obama has signed the proclamation officially making Native American Heritage Day, November 26th. We now have our own federal holiday. To go along with this day is the month long celebration in November of Native American Heritage Month. Since there are 30 days in November, here are 30 ways to celebrate our heritage.


  1. Invite a Native American Guest speaker from a local tribe to come to your child’s school to teach something about their tribe.
  2. Make dream catchers together and discuss their meaning
  3. Research the tribe indigenous to your area and have a presentation in front of your family
  4. Learn a song from the local tribe
  5. Learn a round dance.
  6. Make a clap stick
  7. Learn to braid.
  8. Request that offensive songs not be taught at your child’s school, i.e. 10 little Indian boys.
  9. Be the Native American guest speaker at a school.
  10. Sponsor a child that wants to be a powwow dancer.
  11. Teach a child to bead using pony beads.
  12. Teach a child to make a pine needle basket.
  13. Make frybread dogs with your children instead of chili dogs or corn dogs
  14. Bring in Native American coloring pages and storybooks to your child's for them to keep.
  15. Start a petition to make your local tribe's language an available language course at your child's high school.


  1. Add the following movies to your Netflix cue: Grand Avenue, The Exiles, Dance Me Outside, Doe Boy, Incident at Oglala, Smoke Signals.
  2. Read one or more of the following books: Ceremony by Leslie Silko, Love Medicine by Louise Eldrich, Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
  3. Attend the powwow at California State University, Northridge on November 27th. You can tell them I sent you.
  4. Donate food to your local Tribal TANF organization.
  5. Make moccasins for your family.
  6. Carry your baby in a cradleboard or buy one for someone else.
  7. Support an American Indian film festival.
  8. Print President Obama's Proclamation and post it at work. Request November 26th off if you are Native American
  9. Start a Native American Heritage Day tradition, i.e. gift giving, dinner etc.
  10. Re-enter the powwow circle if you haven't done so in years.
  11. Make a shawl for yourself or someone else
  12. Make Native American Heritage Day shirts for everyone in your family to wear.
  13. Make a turtle or gourd rattle for a new baby
  14. Buy a Pendleton Blanket for an elder
  15. Cook a Native American meal for your family. Here’s a recipe to get you started…

Choctaw Catfish (Serves 4)


  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets catfish
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. In a medium bowl, place catfish fillets in buttermilk. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 45 minutes.
  2. In a resealable plastic bag, mix cornmeal, onion salt, and steak seasoning. One at a time, drain catfish fillets and place in the bag to coat with the cornmeal mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry each fillet 7-10 minutes per side, or until exterior is lightly browned and flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Drain on paper towels.