Study: Breastfeeding Doesn’t Make Babies Smarter After All, This Does


A new study casts doubt on whether breastfed-kids are smarter than their formula-fed peers, though it does note there are benefits to breastfeeding babies including reduced hyperactivity.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, finds that while kids between 3 and 5 years old who were breastfed as babies scored higher on cognitive tests than their counterparts, the difference was not that significant.”We weren’t able to find a direct causal link between breastfeeding and children’s cognitive outcomes,” Lisa-Christine Girard, an Irish researcher who authored the study, told NPR.

Socioeconomic factors and the overall behavior and environment of a child contribute to a higher cognitive ability, the study found. When the researchers accounted for those factors, it was harder to link breastfeeding by itself to smarter children, NPR reports.

The researchers did, however, note that the breastfed kids were less hyperactive by age three if they had been breastfed for six months as a baby. But by age five, the impact on hyperactivity appeared to fade.

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These 6 Tips will Make Your Spring Break Road Trip Go Smoother


During Spring Break, a lot of families take the opportunity of having a week off from school to visit family or travel to various destinations by car. Before going, there are a lot of things things that must be considered, purchased and packed. Juan Carlos Daetz of Maxwarehouse, an online home improvement center that delivers products, offers these 6 Spring Break road trip tips for a safe, organized and stress free tips.

1. Schedule a Service Check on Your Car. Before you take off on a car trip, take your car for a trip to the service station for a tune up. A well-maintained car will be more reliable and safe. Check the oil, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Also check your tire air pressure, have tires aligned and replace if necessary. Have your brakes checked and get brake pads replaced if needed. Lastly, check your lights to make sure all are working—including headlights, high beams, brake lights, turn signals and reverse lights.

2. Pack Emergency Items. In the event of an emergency, make sure your car is well-stocked. Start with a first aid kit. Also, make sure to pack extra water and cell phone chargers. Keep the following stashed in your trunk—jumper cables, flairs, blankets, water, fire extinguisher, mini tire compressor, basic tools, rope/bungee cord, and a flashlight. Your trip will likely go off without a hitch, but it never hurts to be prepared.

3. Plan Your Accommodations in Advance. Always book hotels or make overnight arrangements ahead of time. Spur of the moment travel can be fun, but usually not when traveling as a family. Spring Breaks are a busy time and many hotels book full during this time. Planning ahead also gives you the opportunity to research the area a bit and make sure you are staying in a safe part of town. You can also make sure you get the amenities you’re looking for such as a pool for the kids, gym or continental breakfasts.

4. Bring Healthy Food & Snacks. Pack a small cooler with lots of healthy, easy-to-eat snacks so you’re not at the mercy of a gas station, convenience stores or fast food chains. Depending on where you are in the trip, you can go many miles without running into anything and end up with hungry, cranky kids which can make a long road trip even longer.

5. Road Tripping with Kids. Schedule plenty of restroom breaks along the way. Allow the kids to get out and stretch. Focus on the journey, not just getting to the destination. Make it fun by stopping at points of interest to take pictures and learn about the sites along the way. It doesn’t have to be the Statue of Liberty, kids love seeing World’s Biggest Ball of Yarn or the Corn Palace.Take along travel games, audio books, movies, art supplies, electronics, and tell stories or sing to make the time pass more quickly. The kids can scrapbook or write about the trip when they return home.

6. Childproofing for Your Destination. Whether your destination includes staying at a hotel, friend’s house or with family, bring along electrical outlet covers and travel baby gates to protect your child in a new environment. Be aware that cribs or play yards provided by hotels may not meet current safety standards. If you have any doubt about the safety of the crib or play yard, ask for a replacement or consider other options (for example, put a mattress on the floor).

Good luck parents and have a safe trip!

My New Obsession: WRAPS (10 Min Recipe Inside)


These days, I am totally in love with wraps! They’re super easy to make and you can combine fresh ingredients, meats, lettuce and other veggies, add some sort of sauce or savory sauce and you’re in business.

I also love the fact that wraps can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I make a scrambled egg wrap for the kids. It’s a nice alternative to cereal and oatmeal. It’s wholesome and more filling; brain food for the day until lunch.

For lunch, my fave is a tuna wrap service with chips and for dinner, you can have a wrap with savory soup. A tortilla wrap or smaller soft taco wrap can be used and they are usually lower in calories compared to traditional bread.

The tuna tortilla wrap (seen above)  is easiest to make! This creamy tuna salad flecked with bell pepper and shredded cheddar cheese is wrapped inside tortillas with lettuce recipe takes just 10 minutes and can feed a family of 4.



1 can (12 ox)can Chicken of the Sea® Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup of mayonaise

1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

4 flour tortillas (12 inch)

8 large lettuce leaves


Mix tuna, celery, mayo, red pepper and cheese.
Spread tortillas evenly with the tuna mixture.
Top each with 2 lettuce leaves; roll up.

Voila! Super Easy. You can dice up the rolls into smaller pieces for small kids. Enjoy!

A Road Map To Help Your Kid Grow To Become A Creative Thinker



A few years ago, a Vice Principal at the Catholic School my children used to attend shared his experience teaching at a summer youth program in an inner city school compared to one in a pretty affluent suburb in the same state.

On the first day, during a short break, the counselors instructed the children that they’d have an hour to rotate on different play stations but something interesting happened then.

In the city program, without prompting, after being told to play, the kids there scattered, grabbed balls and sidewalk chalk, formed teams on their own for playing tag and snatched up limited supply of jump ropes and hoola hoops before the last could be swooped up.

But on the other side of town, with the perfectly manicured lawns, white picket fences and two car garages, where organized recreational league sports, ballet and karate lessons and carpools instead of bus rides  are norm,  no one moved.

The children stood around waiting.

The concept of just scampering off to figure out something to do was not the norm.  After a few minutes of stillness, it occurred to the staff that the kids were waiting for more instructions.  It’s what they’re used to. The counselors divided up the children into groups and assigned them play stations and groups.

I found that unplanned social experiment fascinating, but sad at the same time because my kids would be in the camp with the little robots waiting for instructions.


Lately, from the reports that come out and just general observation of Zen Y and Z, it appears that we may be losing the war between intellectualism and ‘keep it simple’ because, well, it’s just easier to be told what to do and to follow instructions than to come up with something to do on your own.

Independent thinking isn’t necessarily rewarded in a ‘teach to test’ environment where there is little time for traveling off the curriculum and exploring the fields and getting lost in the weeds.

A lot of us adults aren’t too unsimilar to Generation Zers.  We are content following social trends, our favorite singer or entertainer on social media, and we chime in to comments on popular topics and generally, agree with conventional thought.  We want to be liked, and being agreeable is an easy way to accomplish that goal.


In high school, it’s easier to go along with the clique and hang on the words of the leader of the pack.

I imagine that it has always been the case for each generation. Succumbing to social pressure to fit in is innate to humans at any stage of life, even.

In schools, children are taught to read, perform mathematic equations, memorize history material in a school book and to cobble paragraphs together based on Wikipedia or online facts and turn in reports.

There is insufficient devotion in the curriculum to teach critical and analytical thinking.  There are electives for that, I guess. So it goes, children who are naturally talented with words and who have a sincere and deep interest in literature, the arts or physical sciences, will likely do okay.

But everyone else will just settle. I wish we didn’t have to settle.

In my home, I have three children: two who are creative, thoughtful, introflective and responsive to others. They can quickly analyze new situations and promptly adjust. They are great with words, creatively write or draw every day.

My other kid is not as motivated  and a bit scattered, and doesn’t really focus as much  and would prefer to not have to do extra thinking or intellectual activity, outside of reading sci fi series, on his days off.

I know I shouldn’t compare my kids but I want this other kid to be better at dissection a problem or challenge presented to him and come up with a creative solution or to plan that challenges conventional thought, wisdom or trends

Critical and independent thinking skills are crucial, not just for term papers in college but for life, in general.

I think it is essential to be able, for example, to judge a political candidate by comparing  his or her campaign rhetoric from their voting pattern, to be able to read between the lines and understand subtext, covert actions and words and figure out if someone is being disingenuous. There are usual social and word clues that give it away if you’re attentive. But there is so much non-real human face to face interactoins these days, that the skill of interpersonal communication is really lost on many among today’s youth.

It’s not too late. I’m convinced!

My kid and all of the children soon will be in charge, running companies and the government and we cannot afford to shrug it off as just something that’s changed.

I wanted to come up with three concrete things that parents can do to encourage and nurture critical thinking in their children and I came up with one and asked my two creative ones to give me an idea on how to cultivate free thought and broader perspective in children.


Idea 1: Encourage Role Play, and often.  My suggestion. Pretend play stretches a child’s imagination. She is forced to come up with new scenarios, invent characters and dialogue. All of these activities encourage creative thought  which in turns helps a child learn how to anticipate and come up with alternatives. Building blocks for logic and reasoning later on in life.

Tools: My daughter plays with My Little Pony ponies and in fact, there is an enourmous cottage industry of role-playing on YouTube and my daughter watches hours of it if you let her. But pretend play has helped her expand her vocabulary and her horizons.

I don’t want to be gender divisive, but little boys do, in fact, enjoy playing with toy soldiers and imagining battles for their pieces, plastic dinosaurs and stuffed animals. They too should be encouraged to engage in this type of play.

Online Tools: There are a couple of mobile apps out there that involve role play. My daughter likes the Sofia the First: Story Theater app, Toontastic and Telestory apps are excellent. For older teens,  Second Life apps are also cool for creative playing.

Teens: You teen may be too old for playing make believe, but you can encourage him to audition for the school or town play. If her school has an Odyssey of the Mind club, encourage her to join.

All of these activities are excellent brain developing ones.

Idea 2:  “Take something. Take another thing. And make something new.” My daughter’ s suggestion.  To implement this suggestion for the physical world, you can give a child random objects and ask them to either build something  that already exists out of it or make a new invention. An empty toilet paper roll, yarn and a stick can be used to make a fishing poll or a pulley, for example. It’s about challenging them to think creatively.

Online Tools: Here is where video games like Minecraft actually come in handy. That game is about a virtual world. Players acquire tools along the way to help them build virtual worlds.  Similar building and invention games are great.

Teens: For a teenager, take him or her to a comedy Improv show and later at home have Improv with the family.  Play charades. These are all part of creating something out of nothing or something that is given to you unexpectedly that may not fit. Making it fit is the brain teaser.


 “Start Little and Progress” –My almost 12-year old son’s suggestion. Think of that cliché about Rome not being built in a day. You’ll have to start with developing basic skills before expecting much otherwise, you’ll fail out the gate.  For example, you may ask your child to write a story, but first he has to come up with characters, then have them decide on a backdrop, then add scenes and scenarios. Make him write a first chapter of a story one day. Then have him pick back up and develop the story from there. And so on, until the process of coming up with a story becomes natural.

Online Tools:  Games that have levels and progress help a child develop a mastery of the tasks. Similarly, education games like IXL Math or other learning apps gradually increase the difficulty as they go along.

Teens: A teen can be tasked with reading a novel, then a series in a novel and then another.  Split up an assignment into tiny sections and then make the amount of work for each section gradually increased. That’s an exercise that is also good for those with ADD and other attention and focus deficiency issues. They shouldn’t be given too much stimulus to comprehend at once.


Hopefully, these tips my children and I came up with will help your journey to help that not-so-creative little thinker in your house. Good luck, parents!

Photos: Picnoi


10 Songs Dedicated to Single Moms That Will Make You Cry

img_3717  I am absolutely in love with the new Clean Bandit song featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie called “Rockabye“. The song and the accompanying relatively recently released music video for the song are about a single mother who does what she has to raise her child.

The lyrics are poetic:

She works the night, by the water
She’s gonna stress, so far away from her father’s daughter
She just wants a life for her baby
All on her own, no one will come
She’s got to save him (daily struggle)
She tells him “ooh love”
No one’s ever gonna hurt you, love
I’m gonna give you all of my love
Nobody matters like you (stay up there, stay up there)
She tells him “your life ain’t gonna be nothing like my life (straight)
You’re gonna grow and have a good life
I’m gonna do what I’ve got to do” (stay up there, stay up there)
So, rockabye…

Side note: I also think Ann-Marie resembles Khloe Kardashian with that cleft in her chin.

This song ranks up high with other songs that people often dedicate to their mom who raised them solo without much or any help from dad either because of abandonment, divorce or death.

This post features 10 songs including Rockabye that I think represent the sacrifice of strong and supportive single moms who overcome it all  to do right by their kid or children.




13 Ideas for Having a Great First Easter For Baby!


Wen it comes to celebrating firsts, there’s something special about celebrating that first Easter together.  While your baby is a bit too small to help you with a lot of things, she’ll enjoy watching you decorate the house, color Easter eggs and prepare yummy foods. During your celebration don’t forget to take lots of photos. You’ll want to be sure to include them with her other “firsts” in her scrapbook.


Coloring eggs

This time honored tradition of coloring Easter eggs started because eggs are a symbol of rebirth.  More than 500 years ago the first book was written mentioning Easter eggs.  Some Christians would not eat meat during Lent and so Easter was the first time they could eat eggs and meat again.  One common game that was played was an egg rolling contest which symbolized the rolling away of the stone on Christ’s tomb.  Your baby will love the look of colored eggs.  Beware, though. It may be a good idea to wait until your child is older to let her eat them.  If you’re looking for egg-coloring inspiration, check out these five blogs.



Egg Hunt

Many churches and cities hold large Easter egg hunts every year.  The nice thing about these places is that they let the groups go according to age.  You and your little one can run out looking for eggs.  Many times the eggs are just lying on the grass and easy to find.  Invite some other kids over and throw your own Easter egg hunt.  Of the many kinds of events you can host this is probably one of the easiest ones you can do.  If money is tight you can always ask each guest to bring a dozen filled eggs with them so that you don’t have to provide all of the filled eggs and the food for the event.  Have a good time and take a look at these five blog entries to get some tips on egg hunts.



Everyone needs a dessert for Easter dinner.  For baby’s first Easter he may or may not be eating a lot of solid foods, but these desserts are kid-friendly desserts that are perfect for the whole family.  Traditional Easter desserts might be carrot cake or pineapple cake.  Bakers have branched out over the years to include all sorts of edible delights for Easter dinner.  These five blog posts will show traditional, light and decadent Easter desserts.


Easter Baskets

Typically the Easter bunny leaves a basket for little boys and girls.  You can buy a pre-made Easter basket at the discount store if you are pressed for time, but why would you when it’s so simple to put one together yourself.  There are different levels of Easter baskets, from simple to over-the-top.  These basket ideas have so many cute things that no one will even miss the candy.  So no matter what kind of basket you want to give your little one on her first Easter you should be able to find some ideas within these five blog posts.


Quit Feeding Your Child Pizza, ‘Kid Foods’ and Juice Pouches with this 6 Steps


According to the National Institutes of Health, on any given day one-third of children and 41 percent of teens eat from a fast-food restaurant. They also report that the restaurant meals often served to kids contain too many calories. The typical “kid food” being offered tends to usually include chicken nuggets, fries, macaroni and cheese, burgers, and pizza. The problem is that these meals often provide empty calories and don’t provide enough nutrition. They also keep the kids wanting the same types of foods at home, with parents often providing them. One expert, Doctor Yum, says it’s time to ditch the “kid food” and start giving kids better options.

“Most food is kid-friendly. Kids just need to learn how to eat it,” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “Kids who are taught healthy eating habits, which include eating a variety of healthy foods, will be far better off now and in the long run. They will be learning healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

Here are 6 reasons to ditch the pizza and pouches and get your kids back to real food:

  • Kids can learn to eat real food. Most of us parents overestimate the amount of food children need. Therefore when a toddler takes two bites of their entree, parents may feel defeated instead of realizing they may have eaten enough. Parents then may be more likely to reach for those kid-friendly, addictive snacks (like crackers and gummy snacks) to fill their child’s belly.  It should be no surprise that grazing-style eating, where hunger does not fully develop, leads to a poor appetite at mealtime. Parents should continue to provide opportunities to practice eating healthy foods, and have realistic expectations for what their child should eat. With enough practice kids will get used to a healthy array of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Check with your pediatrician to see if your child is meeting expectations for growth to ensure his food intake is on track.
  • Restaurant kids meals are a waste of money. When eating out, say no to kid’s meals, which are usually variations on the same “kid-friendly” foods like pizza, chicken nuggets, and sweet drinks. Most of these menus have little to no vegetables or fruit. They may be belly fillers and provide calories but little added nutritional value for your dollar. Instead, order a healthy similarly priced appetizer and/or share your entree with your little one (restaurant meals are so oversized that chances are good that the serving is too big for you anyway). Alternatively, order a few entrees “family style” and ask the server to bring extra plates for whole family to sample. This encourages kids to be adventurous and get used to trying new foods.
  • Kid-friendly foods are misleading.  Recent studies of toddler foods show that many actually have more sugar and salt than what is recommended by experts. Food companies know that parents worry about nutrition, and know the buzzwords to attract those worried parents. It’s easy to make food choices based on the promise of “more protein” or “high in calcium.”  But reading the nutrition label (on the back of the box, not the front) will give you the big picture on whether a food is right for your child. Is there an abundance of additives and preservatives? Are the ingredients recognizable and safe? How much sugar is added? Think about the whole foods that might be used to get the same benefit (like a handful of nuts for protein instead of a protein bar).
  • Kids need real food to develop and thrive. While pizza and macaroni and cheese may fill a child’s belly, kids need fruits, vegetables and whole grains to provide the necessary, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) for optimal growth and development.  Furthermore, an important part of a child’s development is their oral motor skills, those functions of the mouth (lips, tongue, teeth and palate) that allow for speech, safe feeding and swallowing. Many kid-friendly foods are soft and easy to eat and don’t encourage development of those skills. Relying too heavily on these foods (like soft chicken nuggets and pouches with soft purées) can allow kids to lag behind in oral motor development and may lead to picky eating.
  • You don’t have time to be a short order cook. Making two or three meals to satisfy everyone’s preferences is exhausting and can lead to cooking burnout. Teach kids to eat what you are eating to save time and money and to encourage the spirit of adventurous eating. This can be done from the earliest bites of solid food. Instead of relying on store-bought baby food exclusively, find ways to make your meals into healthy baby food. Check out the Doctor Yum Project’s kid-tested, pediatrician approved recipes on Many of them have a “baby food shortcut” which shows families how to adapt a family meal and make a meal for a baby along the way. Eating in this way from a young age can avoid that picky eater trap and lead to a path to adventurous eating for a lifetime.
  • Nutrition shouldn’t be hidden, so stop hiding the veggies.  Kids that are very hesitant eaters may be benefit from a few hidden vegetables as they gain confidence in food, but in general parents should try to help kids learn to love healthy foods without hiding them. While hidden veggies may help nutritionally, the kids may not gain an understanding that vegetables can be delicious, so they may still try to avoid them when they are visible. Get kids loving their veggies by leading by example, preparing them together, growing a garden, and visiting a farmers market where they can pick out a couple of things to try. The more variety they are exposed to and realize that they enjoy, the better the eating habits will be.

“If kids can get involved in the food process, from shopping to preparing it, and they can learn about why eating healthy is so important to them, they are more likely to do so,” adds Heidi DiEugenio, a director at the Doctor Yum Project. “This will help them avoid the obesity problems, chronic health issues, and they will have a better opportunity to live a healthier life throughout their adulthood.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy eating habits can help children maintain a healthy weight, as well as reduce their risks of such conditions as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, iron deficiency, dental cavities, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, can lead to being overweight or obese, increase risks for certain types of cancer, and negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and a child’s school performance.


24 of the Funniest Tweets From Husbands Ever, Really!


Marriage is most successful when couples can maintain a sense of humor throughout it all.

The dynamic can spill over into pure comedy when common everyday situations get translated into 140 characters and shared in social media!

I stumbled upon‘s curated list of over 25 of the funniest tweets from husbands.

Seriously, these are laugh out loud hilarious and I picked my top 24 for you guys to enjoy.img_3459 img_3460 img_3461 img_3462 img_3463 img_3464 img_3465 img_3466 img_3467 img_3468 img_3469 img_3470

See the rest at HERE!

Yeah Baby Sign Language Is Still a Thing and Here’s How to Do It

Bellyitch Rewind


As your infant gets older, she will start to understand her own feelings and needs better, but she still won’t be able to effectively share them with you yet. It can be frustrating for both of you when she’s trying to communicate with you, but hasn’t developed the verbal skills needed to successfully let you know what she needs and wants. Baby sign language can bridge the communication gap and give your baby a way to let you know what’s on her mind. It helps you more quickly understand what your child is trying to say and avoids many of the tantrums and meltdowns that frustration over not being able to communicate brings on. It also is a wonderful way to connect and bond with your baby.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of signing with your infant.

  1. Make it fun. Above all, signing is a way of connecting and bonding with your baby. When you make signing a natural part of your day with him and turn learning time into fun time, you’ll see the best results. Children learn best through play, so introduce and practice the signs during play and relaxation time. You can incorporate signs into songs, word plays and other fun activities you already do with your child.
  2. Don’t expect a response too early. You can start signing to your baby as early as you want to, however, infants aren’t able to understand or respond to your efforts until at least 8 months old. For many, it could be months later. Like any other way of communicating, there isn’t anything wrong with introducing it early and practicing it often. Just don’t pressure your child to embrace signing until he’s ready.
  3. Be realistic about your expectations. Some babies will have more of a natural interest in learning sign language. Others may enjoy the bonding time and interactions with you, but may not latch on to baby sign language as their way of communicating. Let your baby lead the way. Baby sign language is only one way to communicate with your child. If your child doesn’t jump on the signing bandwagon, don’t worry. With time and attention you and your child will develop a system that works for you.
  4. Don’t overwhelm your baby with too many new signs at once. It’s easy to get excited about signing and want to show your baby more and more signs each day. This is especially true if your child has been frustrated at not being able to verbalize his feelings, wants and needs to you and now he suddenly can. However it’s helpful to focus on a few key signs and allow your child time to master those before moving onto additional ones. Soon he’ll have a full signing vocabulary.
  5. Share the signs with other caregivers. Teach anyone else who is caring for your child which signs are his favorites. This can avoid some tearful moments when Grandma or Aunt Maude is babysitting. If your child has gotten used to requesting milk or more cereal through signing, it’s frustrating when the adult he’s trying to communicate with doesn’t understand him. This also gives friends and family members a wonderful way of connecting and bonding with your child.
  6. Start with signs related to things your baby is already interested in. Of course babies will naturally be drawn to learning signs that represent the things in their lives they’re already interested in. Mom, Dad, milk, more, dog and cat often top the list. When choosing which signs to introduce, take your cues from your baby. If he regularly has two cups of milk at lunch time, the sign for more is probably a great one for him to know. If he loves cuddling and playing with Huck, the family dog, the sign for dog will help him communicate his love for his playmate.
  7. Talk, talk, talk with your child too. Signing is a great way to expand your child’s ability to communicate with you, but signing should always be accompanied by talking. By speaking your thought as you sign, you help your child develop important whole language skills. Knowing both the word and the sign for things will help him easily transition from non-verbal to verbal communication.

Baby sign language is an effective and fun way to communicate with your infant. It helps you better understand what your child feels, wants and needs long before he’s able to tell you in words. This helps both of you avoid a lot of frustration and promotes a foundation of great communication between you and your baby.

Say What? Studies Say We’ve Been Doing Parenting Wrong All These Years?


You think you should be helping your child with his homework or making your daughter finish her meal, right? How about washing your baby every day or talking baby talk to her  because you think it will help her with her future vocal skills?

Yeah, those are the things all the books and parenting theories tell us.

Well, like with a lot of social science studies that give us conflicting data year after year, what if these theories are false? hypothesizes that as the new millennia tries to figure out how to raise children to be conscientious and not little monsters, it turns out that our “well-meaning habits are in fact making things worse.”

Think not-so-smart parents steering their kids wrong. Think scrubbing away good bacteria. Think contributing to negative emotions to food. sigh  Yeah.

Interesting. Curious? Read the post HERE!