joyful skin

on my recent blog about skincare I received a comment about eczema, it's a question that I have talked about before on my blog and you can see the story if you click here (there are a few so you can scroll down to the bottom to see all!) but I also stumbled across this wonderful story this morning in the "We" (Weleda's lifestyle magazine) and I thought that their story really sums up what I feel about eczema and talks about it in a really supportive and informative way. You often hear about steroids when dealing with eczema but this story reveals that steroids just mask the problem and don't get into the root of treating the cause of the issue, this is typical of western medicine and why I don't believe in it, especially when working with childrens delicate new bodies. I am going to quote the story in full because there is some really great information.

JOYFUL SKIN - by Dena Moskowitz and Jennifer Barckley

Babies and children are open to the world. They are receptive, takign in new impressions from their environment. In some cases, however, a baby might have difficulty digesting all these stimuli. Allergies and eczema can be the result.
The word eczema comes from ancient Greek and means "to boil over." True to its definition, this itchy, dry, sometimes weepy, red and rashy skin condition is the body's way of saying, "I am feeling overwhelmed. Please help protect me."

The exact cause of eczema, also know as atopic dermatitis or neurodermatitis, remians uncertain. But one thing is for sure--it afflicts many babies and children. "It is probably the most common skin condition I see in children under 5," says Dr. Adam Blanning, a family practitionaer in Denver, Colorado. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a research institute at the National Institutes of Health, and estimated 20 percent of infants and children in the United States experience symptoms. In most cases there's a direct link to allergies--most notably those caused by food.

Water, soap, a lack of moisture, heat, wind, wool, sweat, urnine, nutritional products, laundry detergent and scratching can also affect the skin, leading to eczema. Additionally, when areas of the body such as the knees and elbows of a child learning to crawl are in frequent contact with the outside world, they can become prone to irritation. Relief can be found in gentle skin creams and oils for soothing, wholebody protection.

Daily care with natural cream or oil, free of synthetic and over-stimulating ingredients, will help protect and strengthen the skin. Bathing a baby every two to three days, without soap, in water no hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit helps to keep the skin moisturized and calm.

Aim to keep skin care relaxing and fun. Massaging a baby with nourishing oil, playing a game while applying a cream or letting a child care for him- or herself helps encourage inner and outer balance.

As a practitioner of holistic, Anthroposophic medicine, Dr. Blanning believes in a multi-faceted approach to supporting and healing the skin. Rather than relying on steroids, which suppress the exzema and the body's healing processes, he promotes a natural approach.

To bring a patient's entire body toward greater, long-term health, he relies on the gifts of homeopathic medicine. He suggests that parents begin with topical treatments, such as moisturizers made with calendula. "If these don't do the trick," he advises, "then a consultation with a physician [ideally one who practices integrative medicine] is appropriate." Often he sees a child's digestive system as crucial in the cause and treatment of eczema. Working from both the inside out and outside in, Blanning considers each patient individually.

He uses Weleda over-the-counter and prescription medicines to treat food allergies, digestion and other conditions that may be linked to the skin's health.

The skin speaks for the whole body, and it has a lot to say. Listening to its messages tells much. When parents see how and when the skin reacts, they can help minimize eczema's effects. Over time and with patience, a child can become less reactive and more harmonious within and with the world.


Feng Shui - bedroom placement

Last week we totally switched around the kids room and the flow is so much better now, why did we have it the old way in the first place? is what we keep asking ourselves... so much more room.

Then I realized that our youngest daughter kept coming into our room at around 2am. Normally they both come in as the sun comes up or just about at 7:30 am, but since the switch our youngest was not sleeping so good in her own bed. Two days ago I thought.. hey, maybe it's the placement of her bed, we had switched her head to face South. I don't know a whole lot about Feng Shui but I always remember that your head should face North for the best, most restful nights sleep.

We turned her bed the other way to face North and voila! --she slept through the night perfectly... I just wanted to share this with you in case you are struggling with your kids sleeping habits, it's certainly something to try if not just to make the simple experiment. It can be challenging to a room set-up but just try it out and see how it goes! I think that if North doesn't work, East is your next best.

My sister is pretty into this kind of thing and has written a good story about Feng Shui on my website and if you haven't read it already it is certainly a fun and interesting read, it goes into more detail about your childrens bedroom set-up
--click here for the story.

good luck!


switch off for earth hour

Have you heard about earth hour? as far as I can tell some kids have come together and they are asking us to turn off our lights for one hour on

SATURDAY, MARCH 28th from 8:30 to 9:30pm.

I think this is a great idea and I wanted to help get the word out in any way that I can... so we are there with you on Saturday with our lights out! The idea is to raise awareness in your kids about global climate change and there is also a tie into the world wildlife fund... so it's all good! I think this is a fun way to include your kids and if you want to go a step further and not use any electrical devices it could be even more fun! so pass on the word and let's all show up for EARTH HOUR!

you can visit the website of the group that put this together if you click here.


skincare! My favorite question!

I received an email the other day about skincare and I thought... perfect blog! I hope that you all comment with some of your favorites because I am always game for new products in this sector as long as they are truly natural and don't have parabens, propylene glycol, or sodium laurel sulfate.. these are three of my favorite "bad guys" and I feel as though if you can get around them in your products you are pretty much home free... but it's not easy!

I really listen to my sister in this 'realm' because, together with her husband, she has created a shampoo that is all natural (see sponsor ad for 'Onesta'). She is particularly weary of scents because this eventually means that some type of preservative has been used, she says there is pretty much no way around this...

So there you go... 'most' of my 'don't-s' but I have a lot of 'do's' that I love and here they are:
Dr. Hauschka - I have used their products for over 20 years now and I have always come back to them when I have had any trouble and it instantly goes away. I remember when I moved back to America from Italy and my skin suddenly got really bad for now aparent reason (Oh, could it have been that I had NO job, NO home, NO money... hhhmmm?) at any rate, I started using the 'cleansing cream' again and I swear the next day--totally gone and I had really nice skin again! If you want to just start with a couple of things use the 'cleansing cream' and then the 'facial toner' and you will be on track... (use the cleansing cream by pushing it into your skin, not rubbing it around, it's a Dr. Hauschka method and you will never wash your face any other way, it's wonderful!). Dr. Hauschka has just created a line for aging skin and it's incredible! I love each of the products, and I think they are really all you and I need for beautiful skin. My skin honestly felt younger immediately with the 'regenerating serum'--I don't have to read the labels because I know that their whole phoilosphy is built on bringing you in tune with nature.
Weleda - These two companies (weleda and dr. hauschka) do run a bit hand in hand, but I love the cheerful packaging and there is nothing better than a bit of Weleda's 'skin food' to help you skin recover from dryness. I just slather it all over my face some nights, it's an amazing drenching eye cream, good for sun burns, etc... The 'Wild Rose' line of products is wonderful as well. I havn't found anything from Weleda that I don't like... and if you are traveling don't forget your skin food! and as for the baby products they are all wonderful! calendula lotion should just be a staple on your home and it's good to keep the 'first aid kit' around for any scrapes, burns and cuts. (oh, and the breastfeeding tea is top-notch!! for the way it tastea and good for your milk)

Stella McCartney CARE. - I am always game for something new and after reading an article on this line of organic and natural pruducts by Stella McCartney I tried a few and they are great, I used the youth serum and my skin really felt wonderful, soft and really thin and young (do you know what I mean thin? ...that soft and supple feeling) I also really liked the way that Stella talked about this line of products she was doing, it all just seemed right. (you can buy it as sephora)

These are my three suggestions, but I would really love to hear from everyone on this subject because I LOVE to try new things. I would also like to mention that many people talk about these products being 'expensive' and I just want to ask you when was the last time you went to Bergdorfs and check out the cosmetics section... IT'S ALL EXPENSIVE! many of these natural ingredients cost more so I feel like it's better to put my money into farming than into packaging!

All of this aside, my swedish cousin was visiting and we steamed our face with a couple drops of tea tree oil and then we made this great scrub from olive oil, oatmeal, brown sugar and maybe something else, it was FANTASTIC!

I am really in search of natural make-up as well... I have not tried those mineral powders, but I think that's the next step. I don't wear a lot of makeup but if I want to look nice I do! most days I don't really care...

good luck!


Happy Birthday Barbara Millicent Roberts !!

Otherwise known around the world as 'Barbie' I wanted to join the chorus of people around who are wishing the lady a Happy Birthday. This month she turns 50. But, judging from her appearance, the lady just does not seem to age at all. She has maturely spanned so many important events in the world such as the nuclear age, the Vietnam War, Counter Culture Revolutions, the Women's Lib Movement, The first man on the moon, Watergate, Several Olympics, Disco, New Wave, and 80's shoulder pads, just to name a few! What's her secret? hmmmm.

circa 1950's

She's been busy during these 5 decades too. Barbie has had, by most accounts, over 100 careers since she was born. She had done everything from stay-at-home Mom and glamor queen to astronaut, race car driver, ambassador, gymnast, flight attendant, and even pet shop owner - not to mention a Presidential candidate! Whatever she did, you could always count on her to be FABULOUS! In fact, it is reported that around 70 famous designers have thus far designed one-of-a-kind outfits for the lady. You try getting just one of them to design one for you - this lady has connections! One of my favorites was Malibu Barbie with her camper van!!! My daughter just spied her first Barbie and there was nothing I could do about it - she just so LOVED the princess with her pink dress and sparkling crown. As much as I might disagree with much this 'perfect' young lady has come to represent, I just could not deny my daughter a bit of happiness. And, with that, I have handed the baton down to the next generation.
circa late 60's

circa 1970's

Did you know that when Barbie was introduced in 1959 she had a bra size equaling 40DD and that proportionally, at the time, she would have stood 7 feet tall. She was the epitome of perfection. In 1959 she was introduced as a blonde and a brunette and sold for about $3 - creating sales of about $300,000 in her first year alone. Now, there are estimates that she numbers around 1 billion dolls around the world. Even with all her apparent faults, she did bring hours and hours of comfort and fun to alot of girls the world over. And because it is her birthday this year, we'll shy away from derision and focus on all her capable happiness.

designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier

I thought it would be fun to share some images from over the years. And, if you don't mind sharing - I'd like to hear what you think was your favorite Barbie doll or story related to her.
And, if you have any early images of Barbie, perhaps you could share them with us!


Shampoodle - we need more!!

As I suspected would happen, we practically sold out of Shampoodle in two days! I thought you would either think I was crazy with these wonderful Bollywood pants or totally embrace them... and embrace them you did... in fact I think you love them!!

I got as much as I could in the re-order and I think that I have wiped Shampoodle out! I should have more in about 1-2 weeks, if you would like to reserve yourself a pair please send me an email!

Shampoodle is a Swedish owned and run company, the wonderful couple behind Shampoodle are a traveling pair, who don't like to buy new clothes every time a birthday hits their family. The Shampoodle collection wonderfully adjusts to growing kids, it's practical and organic when possible. The summer Bollywood collection was hatched out of the idea to make traveling easy! I took my pants along on a recent trip and I didn't wear anything else! Perfect!!
--Those Swede's aren't they wonderful!
click here to find Shampoodle on Nonchalant Mom

bubble trade show update

The last time that I made a Bubble Trade Show update you all were very excited to see what was going on and for good reason, I think that you love to see what is coming down the pipe! Two weeks ago our whole family made the trek down to NYC; I needed to see the Bubble Trade Show and my husband was involved in the Scope Art Fair, and the kids.. well they came along for the ride!

We decided we wanted to check out the new Standard Hotel in NYC and it was a perfectly terrific place to stay, perfect neighborhood, not noisy and the rooms, although small, are just perfect! (I will add they are not optimal for a family as there is only one king size bed in the room, but we made it work... just like home all of us shoved into one big bed, and actually daddy spent some time on the floor). When traveling with kids there is nothing better than good room service and the staff were delightful and super wonderful with the kids!

Saturday the kids and I went to see daddy at the Scope Art Fair, the kids got to check out some art and have a good time with all of the nutty people there and well, you know how it is with kids, it took pretty much the whole day! Sunday the kids came with me to the Bubble Trade show, we figured they would have more fun at the trade show than at an art show. It was a rocky start, tooth ache... tired, bored (already!) but as soon as the handouts started it all got a little bit more interesting, candy, cookies, bags, etc... everyone was happy except mommy, I didn't get much work done.

I have decided to mix it up next season (Fall 2009) with some new collections that I think will be fun and exciting! Some of the old favorites will still be here but we wanted to bring in some new life, and I think that you will be happy with the decisions, lot's of bright color, fun and unique new shapes! I wish that I would have taken better photos but I kind of forgot about sharing all of this information with you! But you will see it soon enough, things will role in about September... yay! can't wait. I am also happy to say that the show was busy and everyone seemed to be doing a brisk business, good news in this crazy economy.

A brief note about Nonchalant Kids, I didn't get my collection together, I will have something ready for you online in September but I didn't get myself together to show at Bubble.. too much going on! I did get together with kit+lili's Teresa and Meg, and also Jann from Lucky Fish we had a dinner and some good time to talk about business, schools and vacations (or really the lack of vacations!). We like to talk about all of our troubles of the past year, complain a bit, and then move onto plot what we are going to do next, how we can all make our businesses better and help each other in a more effective way! So lot's of news and lot's to do! so I've got to get to work!


black beans for your ovaries

I first heard of this recipe through a friend who was wanting to conceive and was having trouble, this is not a fertility answer but rather a soothing and healing food for ovaries. There is constant talk about various fertility 'drugs' and I feel that it's really important in some cases to prepare your ovaries, take good care, and this recipe for black beans can help, doesn't that just make sense. Whenever black beans are offered as a choice in restaurants, etc. I always choose them for this reason. But this recipe works in a special way, I also think that if you have had problems like a miscarriage or abortion your ovaries need special care and this recipe can be good to use as well.

You should cook this recipe about 4-5 days prior to having your period, and then eat them each day (they last about 4-5 days if you keep them refrigerated) with one of your meals for the day. They are actually really delicious and I love them!

wash and soak one cup black beans with a large piece of Kombu seaweed overnight.

toss out the water and start with new water, cover beans with two inches of water in a medium sauce pan with lid (include kombu).
add 1/2 cup of dried Daikon (you can buy it from the Kushi store online or at Whole Foods or your local co-op)
add a couple of dashes of tamari or shoyu for flavor
cook covered for approx. 1-2 hours

You can also cook beans in a pressure cooker, but I remember that when I lived in New York City, a macrobiotic friend told me not to use it because there was already too much pressure in New York City. I think that beans cooked in a pressure cooker taste better so use your normal time when cooking, I think when your cooker comes up to pressure it's about 15-20 minutes.

If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients (I always get those emails) you can usually find anything for my recipes from the Kushi Store click here.


good foods to eat during breastfeeding

When you are breastfeeding it's not a good time to diet and try to loose your baby weight, you can save that for later and belive me you will have more energy for dieting later... just leave it and who cares... you just had a baby for gods sake, why is there pressure to look great right away! But seriously, it's still so important to eat well for your baby. I thought it might be a good idea to make a list of things that are good to eat while breastfeeding.

I found this terrific list of great foods for breastfeeding mothers that is pretty uncomplicated and simple. It's from a really great book called:

Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents
by Cynthia Lair - to buy it click here

Quinoa, Millet, Sweet Brown Rice

chickpeas, pinto and navy beans, lentils, split peas, fermented soy foods

anything dark green or orange

oranges, lemons, berries, grapes, grapefruit, apricots, peaches, melons

almonds, flaxseeds, pine nuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds, walnuts

dulse, hijiki, arame

organic yogurt, kefir, sour cream and aged cheeses from grass-fed cows if possible, fresh goat milks and cheeses

wild line-caught fish, especially salmon and halibut, a good cod liver oil supplement can also be beneficial if access to wild fish is limited.

free-range or pastured poultry and eggs from them

beef, lamb, and pork from humanely raised animals

These are foods that have above-average levels of one or more of the following nutrients: protein, calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Needs for these nutrients are elevated for nursing mothers.

Another side note that I read in the book that is great information is that the Colostrum, the first substance from the mothers breast, helps baby pass meconium, reduces the chance of jaundice, and supplies your baby with immunological properties... good to know!

If you want recipes for any of the above items I am pretty sure that I have written about just about each food so if you do a search on my blog you can probably find whatever you need... and if not, buy the book!

Have fun with your breastfeeding, and don't get crazy about your diet and over analyze what you are eating because that's way too stressful! And don't make this list of things that are good make you crazy! I just wanted to stress that this is not the time to diet and what's another year anyway... you have a lifetime to diet! let go and have fun!

Also, if you do a search for 'breastfeeding' I have posted many articles on this subject... I love a breastfeeding mom and I always want to support this anytime and anywhere!


easing into bedtime...

When it's time for bed and your kids are bouncing off the walls, it's time to take action, and here is just a wee bit of a suggestion... before YOU loose your temper. This is also a great thing to do at the end of a particularly exciting weekend when your kids are not really ready to go back to school... just not yet... so this will get them to calm down a bit and relax, plus just the special attention will feel pretty sweet!

Take a nice warm wet wash cloth (those cheap hotel ones are really perfect... you know the ones I'm talking about, scratchy and nubby) get your kids into bed and get them set up for a special treat! Take out each hand and foot one at the time and gently (but not too gentle, I would say it's kind of firm) wash/rub your kids hands and feet (NO soap) and especially in between the finger and toes. This feels so very soothing, refreshing and it gets everyone ready for bed!

I must add that this is a very nice thing to do for yourself, you will enjoy it! You can also do it on yourself in the morning as a nice wake-up. But not in the shower... that's just called washing yourself off with a rag and it's not the same as this gentle stimulating massage.


(I know these photos don't totally coincide with this post but I couldn't find a photo of this type thing so this might help you find any problem areas and you can help with a little extra massage on that area)


update on kids bath and body products

My sister is in the haircare industry and she passed on this surprising report on childrens bath products contain carcinogens, these products are probably not ones that you use in your house, but check the list to make sure that you are not using any of them.

It was also very interesting to find that 23 of 28 products tested contained formaldehyde. Formaldehyde — considered a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, — is released as preservatives break down over time in a container. WOW...

It further states that 32 of 48 products contained 1,4-dioxane, also considered a probable human carcinogen by the EPA, is a byproduct of a chemical processing techniques used to make petroleum-based ingredients gentler to the skin. WOW again....

Formaldehyde can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people, the report says, and
The good news is that Japan and Sweden have banned formaldehyde from personal care products, so we (here in America) can work to have these hazardous chemicals banned from childrens products. In the meantime there ARE some products that are okay. We use both Weleda baby products or California baby which do not use harmful chemicals.

click here to read the complete article written by Liz Szabo in USA Today (there is also a complete list of all of the products that were tested).
visit the weleda website here (if you sign of for their wonderful newsletter/magazine called "We" you will received all kids of coupons!
vist the california baby website here


I think that I can safely say that I WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD A DOULA! there... I said it! We have received so many comments on Doulas that I felt that we should write something about it, my only issue is that we didn't have one so I can't talk about if first-hand but I will say this... I certainly wish we would have had one and here is why:

I think that regardless of how you feel about your birth you probably want to make sure that you exhaust everything before giving into any sort of medical help and this is what your doula will do for you. Obviously everyone has there reasons for choosing a doula, but I think that it all comes down to having someone there for you to make some important decisions (when you are totally out of it!), you have talked with her at length about how far you want to go before you feel you need 'medical' help and she is very clear about those boundaries because it's her training and she has hopefully done this many MANY times so she knows the various common and not so common scenarios that can be played out during a birth.

She is there to help you and support you and while your husband is there to do the same he has not been through hundreds of births! not to mention the training a doula has gone through and her commitment to your birth. It's important that you take the time to find someone that is in tune with your needs and obvoiously someone that you feel comfortable with but of all the things that can happen during your birth a doula could be the answer to your prayers!

When we realized that I was pregnant for the second time I was pretty sure I wanted a doula, I had a hard time even finding a Midwife in our town so I knew that a doula would be equally challenging. We had taken Bradley method classes with our first son, my husband was a champ and really worked hard for me to make it through and I had a bunch of crazy difficulties, 'partial' placenta previa (what the heck!), slow dialation (so you they try to tell you that the need to speed you up, but WHY?) but we worked it out with our super wonderful Midwife. Now without her I was a bit nervous that it was going to get more complicated, and my husband felt as though we had been through this and so we didn't need a doula... well I am here to say now LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS! So for our second baby we had one of those births that was not what I had planned, but we are all fine in the end so it's all good but had I had a doula I would have felt as though I had tried everything to make it go right.

so there you go... do a little research, learn about a doula, and see if it's the right thing for you! You will know... just as you always do, just listen to your instincts!

more information on doulas visit DONA which is the oldest Doula network--click here

(and isn't the above image wonderful I found it online and the credit is to:
Lynsey Stone photographer)


birth remedies that can help

I must confess that I read the book a 'girfriends guide to pregnancy' and I really thought it was helpful for the real-life aspect of pregnancy and giving birth--I laughed while actually taking notes thinking ah-ha! And for me it kind of made the whole thing more funny and relaxed. I found that when I was pregnant I would get these really crazy laughing fits where I just couldn't stop and in the other extreme I had such bad hemorrhoids that I didn't know what to do. It's all a crazy ride and glowing skin and a really funny body and before you know it you have someone else in your life that means more than everything in the world.

Here are some ideas to deal with some of the issues and predicaments you may find yourself in during pregnancy and after childbirth.

1) do those kegel exercises that everyone talks about, because when it comes time to push you won't be thinking to yourself "HOW"? you will know what to do.

2) take it easy and take this time to really enjoy yourself, at the same time if you have hemorrhoids take the bottom part of the banana (that little tip that nobody likes) and stick it in there and they will be gone the next day!

3) talk to your doctor and pick out a favorite tea that both of you think is ok to drink during pregnancy, I chose kukicha (because it has calcium so I thought that was good). carry the teabags around with you so that when everyone is drinking coffee you can have a favorite warm drink as well. to fake a drink remember Roses Lime juice and cranberry and soda water, it's great and feels like a cocktail.

4) don't bring your cosmetic bag to the hospital... trust me... you won't need it!

5) Think about what you will want to eat after birth... all I wanted was Kale and sunflower seeds... cous cous and rasins... it will be something... but you will need that something...

6) I soaked pads in camomile tea and froze them, then I sat on them after the birth of my son, they were wonderful.

7) I don't mean to take any of this lightly, I think it's important to learn everything you can about childbirth and what can happen during your childbirth, and the process. My husband and I took Bradley Method classes in my first pregnancy and it did us a world of good! It gave us the stregnth to stand up to the people trying to shove things at us and say NO, and make a decision that was based on some type of knowledge about was going on. It also gave me the stregnth to take my own time and not rush things of be pushed by others. It's still magical, and if you want to do it intuitively just be sure to know that people will be all over you to do this and do that and it's really hard for you to decide anything at all, so it's really good to have your partner there to speak for you and know what you really want and to stand up to people when it's needed because you will not want to do it.

8) Talk to your mother and sisters and anyone you can in your family that has given birth and ask them about every detail. Most of the time you will have just about the same kind of birth as your Mother or your Sisters... ie. slow dilation, fast birth, whatever... it will do you a world of good to at least prepare yourself for the same issues and know your options. For example if your mother was slow to dilate, knowing that going into the game you will be ready for things to take time, so what is your answer when they ask you if they can use Petocin? you will have your answer ready. even if your birth is totally different you can still listen to their wonderful stories of birth that they have probably mostly forgotten! and never get a chance to talk about anymore ...ha!

9) if your doctor thinks it's ok take a spoonful of flaxseed oil each day, this will help your joints to be smooth and flexible.

10) I have heard that accupuncture is amazing for childbirth. I have a friend who is certain that she had a fast, smooth and easy birth because she had acupuncture to help.

I hope that these suggestions can get you started. Please add your comments to help others in a birth that is more supported by just knowing more information. My favorite story is a friend of my sisters who brought her skinny jeans with her to the hospital becuase she thought she would walk out of there being able to wear them! (yes, this was many years ago when there was a lot less information out there! we are talking 1980's).

Just don't forget to take this moment to be all about yourself, if you are like most women you rarely take the time in your life to only think about yourself, this is your big chance! and soon you will have so much more to think about!


new parents and the myth of BABY GEAR

I frequently get emails from new parents asking "What do I really need for my new baby?" and as a new parent, upon your first visit to the OBGYN you somehow get on a mailing list that will surprise you! And as soon as you begin to show your bump, get yourself ready for everyone you meet telling you what to do, and how to do it... the subway was a particularly voulnerable spot for me (and it doesn't end with pregnancy, when you have a baby they will tell you how to raise your baby! and in particular everything that you are doing wrong!)

Okay not here... I just wanted to share a list of things that are good to have new, things you may not need at all, and things you can borrow from friends.

1) CLOTHING - not to toot my own horn but you will need onesies, pants and socks new, only because anything you get from friends will probably be full of barf... BUT in the same breath, you don't need hundreds of these things. just think about changing about three times a day and then you will find yourself doing laundry more often, this is all normal. But when your baby is moving into 12m or so... you will start to share clothing with your friends (less barfing at this time) which makes things a lot easier.
Bibs-ikea has a great 10-pack.
Burp cloths-personally I like to have nice ones, I don't know what it is about this, but you can buy a beautiful kitchen towel and cut it in half and you are set. It's something about cleaning up barf or boogers with a sweet cloth that makes it all better! You can also make these easily by sewing together your favorite print fabric and a wash cloth.

2) GEAR - I think that gear really depends upon where you live; urban, suburban or rural. So I will talk about these three lifestyles and you can see what best relates to you:

URBAN - stroller, stroller, stroller - buy the best stroller you can get for your money and plan on it being worn out in about 5-6 months. But I must say, I have never seen an 'old' or crappy looking Bugaboo! Car seats you could share with a friend because when are you really even in a car? and decide if you are a sling person or a baby bjorn type person (if you have back issues you will still probably want to carry your baby this way because it's so wonderful to have them this close to you!). What ever happened to just carrying your baby without all this stuff!?--You will more than you know, so just figure out what works best for you!

SUBURBAN - you may use a stroller from time to time but you can even think about sharing one with your friend, or even just having a cheap and easy one for travelling etc. is just about all you need. Do your research on the car seat and get one that you are really happy with, the lounging ones are great because it's easy for your kids to get a snooze in the car this way. A sling or baby bjorn is a good thing to borrow from a friend, or maybe it's a good idea to borrow one of each until you decide what you like and what works best for you and your baby and then buy that one new.

RURAL - If you live rural you are a bit like we are now, I pulled out a stroller for a recent trip to NYC and realized we had not used it for two years! (and it is certainly cheap and simple). Again, the car seat is king... get a good, safe and comfortable car seat. I think that the sling or baby bjorn is handy for around the house, and it's good for putting your baby to sleep while you clean the house or work etc.. but it can even be borrowed.

3) HIGHCHAIR - I think that Ikea has a great one that is cheap and perfect, it can be whiped down (you could almost throw the whole thing in the dishwasher!) and if you want to go delux there is a nice one by Stokke that's great too--it's super adjustable and will take your child into toddlerhood. But these large american ones that are a-kin to a cadillac are really too much... plus they take up so much room! the highchair is a terrific thing to borrow from a friend, you will want one for about 1-2 years so just think about this when you are buying an expensive chair. I have a friend that swears by those clip-on chairs, I love them and I think they are so smart but we just happened to not use one (there is a great swedish one by the company Smart Sit that is wood and really cute).

4) TOYS AND GAMES - I know that this is a real hot topic right now, so I'm a little shy to touch on it but I will just tell you how we handle toys... we buy most used, at a couple of local consignment shops and also on eBay, we are careful about what we are buying and honestly it's mostly wood toys that we collect by Creative Playthings and for babies it's a little scary with paint, you will be amazed how your baby plays with anything that is NOT a toy!

5) BLANKETS--it's really nice to have a few, and don't be afraid to use them...I know that you want to keep them nice if they are fancy but have some that are just easy to throw down on the ground, wherever you are, and then you can just toss them in the wash. It's great to give your baby a space to play by themselves so you are not holding them all the time... they need that space to explore!

6) BOTTLES, PACIFIERS ETC.. don't go crazy on this stuff until you see what your needs are here, every baby is different and you don't know, just have one or two on hand at first to see what is going to happen. There are quite a few companies now that make glass bottles, these are certainly the best, don't even think of plastic! (I keep meaning to sell them on NCM but I keep forgetting to order them!) Just buy one pacifier for 0-3 months and see if it's something your baby wants, some love it--some just won't take one no matter what!

7) CRIBS, BASSINETTE, ETC - before you run out and decorate a nursery realize this... your baby will sleep in that crib for maybe 1-2 years... that's IT!! at first your baby will probably sleep in some sort of basket or in your own bed for...however long (three years!!! yikes!) This is a great place to share with friends just put it out there and I am sure at least five friends will rush at the chance to get rid of the crib in their basement! I understand the desire to get ready for your baby by creating their beautiful room and I think that's great and terrific if you can do it and you have the space, but if you don't...don't think that your new baby needs a nursery of his/her own! Our son, who was born while we lived in a one bedroom in NYC, had a small wall, three wall hooks a drawer and a place to change him and that's it! it's all you really need! It's not necessary to go out and look at new houses that are bigger just yet... wait until they are 3-4-5 years... you have time!

8) DIAPER BAG - I hate them and I never used them! (and notice I don't sell them on Nonchalant Mom!) I took this opportunity to purchase a really sweet bag at Barneys (not as in pink-sweet, but as in sw-e-e-t!) What a GREAT excuse! If you really think you need one just get somthing that zips and fits inside your fancy new bag that you can use for your baby items. I did use lot's of those zip bags for pacifiers, wipes and diapers, etc that went INSIDE my very cool Barneys bag!

I am sure that I forgot a whole LOT of things! so tell me and we can keep adding to this list. We would love to hear your comments on how you handle(d) your new baby! Good Luck and be happy with what you have, you will feel smarter about making the moves when you need to rather than rushing into something that is not really necessary. Your baby is not going to care about their living conditions until they are a teenager! I like to look at it this way, the smaller your house the better you know what everyone is doing, because if your house is small enough (as ours is) they are always in your sight!

I would love to hear from parents outside the United States too! How do you feel about all this 'stuff' that people think they need to get for a new baby.

Baby Week at Nonchalantmom!

I think that because my kids are a bit older I forget to talk about babies so I wanted to take a week aside and talk about the wonderful world of BABIES! So if you have special interests and questions please email me and I will be sure to address your issues.

I am going to start off with a list of the things that a new parent 'might' need to buy new and the things you should just borrow from friends... I always get asked this question, and it's one of the reasons I started Nonchalant Mom and that I have the selection that I have... I don't think that everything has to be new, trading and sharing with friends is one of the real joys of parenting and friendship. Then we are going to write about some healing tips on essential problems that not everyone likes to talk about (hemorrhoids! etc), and we will see where the week takes us!

I just wanted to invite everyone to send in comments on issues that you would like addressed and we will do our best to get at each and everyone on of them. (maybe this will take more than a week!)

happy parenting!


Bee Pollen

You know that we are always on the search for a new idea and helpful tips on fending off the common cold. Last year we conducted a research project with the kids, we were certain that a salt bath was the way-to-go in fending off the common cold and flu season, and while it's hard to know what we didn't get, because of whatever reason??... we had a pretty healthy season. We gave the kids a salt water bath each night, rarely using soap, just a nice soak in salt water before going to bed.

This year I am trying something on myself... I usually don't use my kids as a laboratory if I am testing out supplements. I am using Bee Pollen, and I have to say that I think that I have had amazing results! when I feel a cold coming on I take some at night and in the morning, otherwise I pretty much take it once a day. I think that it has helped my immune system help fight any colds or flu that have come our way, while everyone in our town had this crazy flu...I felt fine!

In doing some research for this blog, I found this great article in Treehugger that is very helpful, it describes how to use Bee Pollen for Allergies (which I totally believe in and works in the same way that my honey remedy does). Bee Pollen is very versatile and can be easily added to drinks and smoothies, it's important to use good bee pollen and know where it's coming from and it's also important to store it in a cool dry place, it doesn't react well to heat.

As I asked many friends and colleagues about Bee Pollen no-one seemed to have anything to say about it. (I didn't get a chance to ask my good friend and favorite doctor Dr. Warren King--but I will do so and report back if he has some insight) But now I am asking YOU for information? Has anyone else had these results with Bee Pollen?

Stay happy and healthy!


The Thunderbirds

Does anyone remember the Thunderbirds? Does 'supermarionation' ring a bell? now you are getting the picture... the Thunderbirds are the 1965 cartoon marionettes of the fabulous Tracy family! Going out on missions that saved the world! If you are looking for something fun and unique for your boys (or even little girls get a charge from this great program) the Thunderbirds are a great rental, you can find all of the old episodes on Netflix. There is even a recent 2004 Movie with Bill Paxton as commander Scott Tracy, and it's directed by none other than Johnathon Frakes ("# 1" on Star Treks Next Genernation series)-it's delightfully colorful and exciting for young kids. But I would start with the old version... and then when your boys are older move onto the new movie.

For our sons Birthday a few years ago we actually found an old Thunderbird 2 on eBay and he just went crazy! It has all the old sayings "F.A.B. Virgil" ...
here is one on eBay for sale but it's from the newer movie
here is one of the older versions on eBay that comes with all Thunderbirds (5, 4, 3, 2 and 1)
we buy lot's of used toys on eBay (orange matchbox tracks, Thunderbirds, the old 1968 memory game...) a little nostalgia never hurt anyone and it somehow makes playing with your kids a little more... well... memorable!

We just wanted to give you a reminder for some small fun for your kids that you will love to see too! Just watch out... in the Thunderbirds old marionette version some of the characters smoke...it' funny such a relic of the past! But your kids may ask what the heck they are doing! But most of all it's delightfully fun and your kids will like it too.. and you just can't resist

5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 .... THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!!!


a guide to recycled tissues, toilet paper and papertowels

I got an email today from Greenpeace, they have created a handy guide to who is using recycled paper and who is not... just take a look and make sure that the products you are using in your home are NOT using virgin wood cut down for the single use of providing toilet paper, tissues and paper towels, this just seems so obvious... need we say more!

The chart will also show you who uses harmful bleaches to get their products white -- now really, why does toilet paper need to be white!? Go to Europe and it is NEVER white and Never soft... does anyone really care!

You can also go a step further, I was irritated to see that Target stores use virgin wood for it's products and nothing recycled... write them a letter! it's easy to just write a short letter to state your point.

click here for the Greenpeace Tissue Guide


Art Fair Weekend! March 5 - 9

normally I would leave Karim to do this post but here I go...

Would you like to show your kids some art this weekend?
There are a few opportunities with these three various shows, I think that bringing your kids is up to your discretion but it can be fun to show them a bit of the crazy art world (but remember there are bound to be some graphic images). All three of these shows are very exciting and make for a good educational day, plus the people watching is fantastic! So have a good time, sit back and view some art!

The Armory Show
located at the Piers 92 & 94
time: noon - 8pm
admission: $30 general / $10 students

Scope Art Fair
located at Lincoln Center (tent on the side)
time: noon - 8pm
admission: $15 general / $10 students

Pulse Art Fair
located at Pier 40 (353 West Street @ West Houston)
time: noon - 8pm
admission: $20 general / $15 students

My husband will be at the Scope Art Fair in booth C16 if you want to stop by and say hello!



Every year Jann and her family take a trip to her home of South Africa to visit family, friends (she has so many friends there!) and to relax and decompress from her busy life in Brooklyn, New York. Jann is the creator, founder... she IS Lucky Fish, and over the years she has become a friend that gives me inspiration creatively and we also have dreams of working together at some point (I promise you we will one of these days!). Jann has a way of going about her business that is very Nonchalant, and I love that about her AND I really respect that because if she let everything go to her head... well let me give you an example, and you may know this if you buy her amazing t-shirts from Nonchalant Mom--I always have to prepare myself for her collection to hit the website because people go crazy! I have to admit, I go crazy a bit too... I think it's about ten years now that I have been wearing her t-shirts myself, and I always feel super cool when I wear them and there is really no need for anything else.

So back to South Africa, Jann has been lovely enough to share her travelling tips for Capetown! These travel ideas come straight from the heart so I hope that anyone traveling will take her advice and really see the beauty that South Africa has to offer, I know that we will be going soon! I hope you feel the same way!

here are some things I like to do in capetown:

1.walk up lions head at sunset--preferably full moon.Go early enough to go down when sunsets. (picture above of lions head)
2.Sea point pavilion.salt water pool
3.st. james salt water pools
4.swim at muizenberg on a rainy day or a sunny day. fun bodysurfing.
6.hike up table mountain from kirstenbosch

7.sunset at CLIFTON BEACH
8.BIRDS cafe for breakfast/lunch in town
9.eat snoek
10.eat a salomi and samosas at zerenas on loop street in town.
11.top of long street--near buiten street--little coffee shops and stores. bars/nightlife.
12.walk down long street to church street in town--Afro cafe for brunch--fun on saturday am pass by good south african bookstore KLARKS 211 long street.
13.walk along ocean from sea point to waterfront
14.walk along ocean path from muizenberg to Kalk bay. brunch /lunch at Cafe Olympia in Kalk BAY--cute vintagy stores also.
15.drive around to cape point.from Camps bay
16.go to clifton beach(4th) if its windy
17.robben island
18.Indian food--dinner at BAKARA 0 on church street (upstairs)
19.stroll throught the gardens

20.up the west coast to Paternosta,dinner on the beach at the restaurant there (Jann pictured here at Parernosta, wearing Matta--soon to arrive at NCM)
21.eat crayfish, (lobster) eat oysters.
22.drink wine
22.sunset at bakoven Rocks.covey local uncrowded beach.
23.walk along camps bay beach
24.world of birds in Hout Bay
25.penguins at Boulders--good for a swim too!
26.Colonial cocktails at the mount nelson in the garden or the bar. Have a pims for me!
27.eat biltong
28.stay safe
29.have fun
30.drum Cafe (if you are into that) I've never been!

31.Deerpark Cafe---a restaurant with a private playground (big one ) for the kids to run around in while you enjoy your meal... swings/slides/seesaw/roundabout and big lawn and an awesome view of the mountain...

32.Design Indaba--around the end of feb--showcases best of south african design and crafts--fun, interesting and good shopping too. Hosts a great design conference (international.) (above photo of Fabric Nation, printed fabric collaboration between Jann and her friend Jane)

from Jann