MomTricks names BellyitchBlog among Top 100 Essential Blogs for New Parents

top mom blogs bellyitchblog.com

Awesome Sauce!

A wonderful new parenting resource site Momtricks just named Bellyitch among its pick of Top 100 Essential Blogs for New Parents!


In our entry, the top ranked parenting resource website wrote:

Launched and published by JJ Ghatt, Bellyitch is more of a fun, lighthearted blog that’s a welcome change of pace. With a focus on celebrity baby news (and celebrity bumps!), the site also covers nursery decoration ideas, parenting advice, as well as news and reviews.

It’s updated several times a day, so there’s always something new to check out on this lovely blog! You can also catch her at JJ Braids, a blog focused on ethnic braid hairstyles.

*gush* So sweet!

Very cool and I am very grateful that its founder and editor in chief Jen Taylor plugged my hair blog that I recently launched and am also trying to get off the ground! Good stuff all around and I certainly appreciate the inclusion and mention among so many awesome sites.

Check out her site and entire list HERE!

And for a quick reference, here are the names of all 100 that you can pin on your Pinterest board! (smile)

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Back to School: Dad Creates Awesome Product for Homesick First Year College Coeds

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Continuing in our trend of highlighting parent inventors and creators, we’re showcasing another innovator :

James Oliver, Jr, the dad Blogger from trepLifeDad,  spends some of his times balancing family life with his wife and brand new twins and catapulting a StartUp venture to the next level.


The Brooklyn native’s company WeMontage is the homesickness cure for your first year college kid who needs vibrant reminders of home and family to keep spirits lifted during long spans of time away from the comforts of home and close family.

Oliver put his accounting degree from Morehouse College and MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill to good use after becoming inspired by a HGTV episode that featured an interior designer decorating a wall with photos using a DIY method.

He graduated from a prestigious tech accelerator program, gener8tor, and from there raised capital to launch and fund the company.

Currently, WeMontage is the only website that allows users to upload their favorite photos, create a custom photo collage, and print them out onto large, removable wallpaper with adhesive backing.

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And considering that universities and landlords usually do not allow college dorm rooms  or rental apartment units to have too many holes in the walls, WeMontage’s removable adhesives are perfect!

Besides curing ills of that homesick Freshmen, the decorative walls are also a very unique way to decorate one wall of your new baby’s nursery or even an older child’s play room.

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Recreate nostalgic memories from your wedding, graduation or other precious life moment in an office den, man cave or other work or play room; or in a campus locker room, gym or other area.

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And there are various options to cover smaller areas as well. Very cool.

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To create beautiful wall montages, all you need is a straight edge. Oliver recommends having a friend help with installation for larger spaces, but guarantees that the entire process would take under 15 minutes.

Simply, determine what space you want the enlarged images to go, while taking into consideration other colors and decorative elements of the room. The final product is delivered to your door on a canvas-like paper with a matte finish can be attached and removed from flat walls and textured surfaces without causing damage.

And there is social consciousness to Oliver’s company as well. WeMontage recently donated 100 photo montages to college freshmen to fight homesickness.

Nice!

Oliver is working on raising more awareness of his fabulous product and utilizes a team of two part time developers and a publicist to help him get the word out. He was recently featured as Dad of the Week on The Mom’s radio show on Sirius/XM and is about to launch a project with BlogHer and SheKnows following his very moving reading of his Voices of the Year article about his son during this year’s BlogHer conference.

Good stuff.

If you’d like to give it a try for free, head on over to WeMontage and sign up and if you eventually purchase, you get 30% off the product thru next Thursday, August 13th if you use our code “bellyitch30”!

Please send us a photo to see your project once up to contact (at)bellyitchblog.com! Thanks!

 

photos: courtesy WeMontage

 

 

 

 

Parents Pitch Products at White House’s First Demo Day

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So…we all know parents rock and some rock so much that they step in to fill a void and need among fellow parents by inventing some amazing and wonderful life-saving services, gadgets, contraption and tools.

A few of said innovative parents got a chance to show off their services and products yesterday at the First Ever White House Demo Day  on August 4, which was also on the birthday of US President Barack Obama.


Bellyitch’s founder JJ was on hand to witness and record the President go around the exhibits set up in in the State Room of the White House and hear presentations from a selection of about 30 startups and entrepreneurs.

Earlier these brilliant minds were among  small business owners who  had taken part of a two-day session that included round tables and meetings with Senior White House officials, venture capitalists, government leaders and business mentors.

Products for and by parents presented that day included:

Husband and wife duo develop technology to help libraries boost kids’ summer reading

(Felix Lloyd and Jordan Lloyd-Bookey, Arlington, Virginia) Entrepreneurs and husband-and wife-team Felix Lloyd and Jordan Lloyd Bookey founded Zoobean to help libraries use technology to better serve their communities. Their latest product, Beanstack, provides families with learning tips, tools to log reading sessions, book and app recommendations and special badges tied to local library programs and goals.  Jordan is the former Head of Google’s K-12 Education Outreach team. Felix is a serial entrepreneur whose first venture, MoneyIsland was acquired by BancVue.

Smart baby monitor can track a baby’s vital signs using only a video camera (Rubi Sanchez, San Francisco, California) Rubi Sanchez, the founder and CEO of Wearless Tech Inc., is a graduate of the University of California—Berkeley with experience in the health care industry. Her company has developed Cocoon Cam, a patent-pending solution that uses computer vision and cloud-based data analytics to transform the capabilities of a traditional baby monitor. Using their unique software, a digital video camera, and non-invasive infrared technology, Cocoon Cam can track a baby’s heart rate, respiration, and skin temperature from a distance. Parents can stream video and wellness information to their smartphone to know exactly what is going on with their baby’s health at any time.  The Cocoon Cam team was trained through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

Working mom of two turns family handmade popcorn tradition into snack food startup

(Jean Arnold, San Francisco, California) Jean Arnold grew up loving the fresh popcorn her mother would cook using a hand-cranked stove-top popper. As an adult, she spent years experimenting with making her own organic popcorn and flavoring it with exotic seasonings inspired by her training at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Now, as the founder of 479°, Arnold has turned her love of popcorn into a gourmet snack business that is sold around the country.

I also caught a cute moment during a pitch by Co-Founders Aaron Horowitz and Hannah Chung, both who have had experiences with juvenile diabetes. They explained how their inventive teddy bear called Jerry works.  Jerry is stuffed with educational apps to help children develop healthy behaviors related to a condition they may be dealing with or generally nutrition, exercise, sleep, and mindfulness.

JJ captured the moment for a LIVE Periscope stream and uploaded on her YouTube channel where you’ll find other videos from the event:

 

 

 

Good stuff and it was pretty cool to be in the audience at the East Room to watch it all go down and to interview some of the exhibitors after the president’s remarks.

 

Bump Day: Lost Ciara Maternity Feature

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We’re having a throwback to a feature from 2009-2010 called  Bump Day, which was a take off of Wednesday’s Hump Day.  Through it, we would highlight and celebrate  pregnant baby bumps of all shapes, forms and variety.

While cleaning out files, we found this lost photo of model, actress and singer Ciara from back when she was pregnant with son Future and was featured in a W magazine shoot..


Ciara looks to be a great mom from what we can tell scoping out her IG.  She has since split with then fiance, R&B recording artist Future and is currently dating NFL Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. She is also taking a little heat from her ex Future over the fact that Wilson interacts with Future Jr.

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He’s calling Ciara horrible names  even though Ciara regularly interacted with his four children from four different relationship while they were together. She was cool then, though, many have already pointed out.

 

 

 

Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Passions through New Experiences

Portrait of a child at a concert

As a parent, you want to encourage your children’s interests as much as possible. When your 3-year-old kicks a ball across the backyard, you consider signing him up for a preschool soccer team, and when your 9-year-old brings home an A in reading, you take her to the library to check out a stack of books.

To cultivate your kids’ budding passions, think outside of the box a bit and find alternatives or add-ons to typical activities. The following experiences can help your kids explore their interests even more:

For the bookworm, go beyond the books


If your daughter adores reading, take her to the local library or bookstore for book readings. She will enjoy hearing an adult other than you or her teacher reading a new-to-them story. And it’s fun to interact with the other kids and parents who attend. You also can offer your little bookworm plenty of reading material in other mediums, such as comic books and magazines. Another idea is to turn on the closed captioning option during your child’s favorite TV show and turn the volume off; this way she can read the dialogue instead of hear it.

For the movie fan, go to a play

Most kids have at least one favorite movie — and you have probably seen it about a thousand times. If your kids love going to the movies and acting out the various scenes at home, give them a new experience by taking them to see a live theater performance. Plays, musicals and local theater productions are perfect ways to expand your child’s horizons and show them another side of entertainment. A lot of cities have children’s theater companies, which are a terrific way to introduce kids to the live theater experience. If you live close to New York City or are planning a trip there soon, take your kids to a Broadway production.

For the artist, head to a museum

Museums and art exhibits are a great way to encourage artistic growth in young children. If your son is always doodling, drawing, painting and playing with clay, take him on a field trip to a local museum. While children’s museums often have hands-on learning opportunities, you can also take your kiddo to a “real” museum filled with classic pieces of artwork by the masters. Even young children can be taught to be quiet and respectful in an art museum, and some have galleries with art geared toward kids and teens.

For the sports fan, go to some games

Kids who shoot hoops all day in the driveway or swim countless laps in the backyard pool will love going to a basketball game or swim meet. You don’t have to spend big bucks to expose your kids to older athletes doing the sports they love. If you have a college in your hometown, take your kiddo to a few games. Or, see if the local YMCA is hosting a swim meet that is open to the public.

Top 5 Tips for Car Seat Sanity on Summer Trips

Guest Post

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Just in time for Baby Safety Month, safety expert (and father of four) Jon Sumroy , creator of an innovatieve grab-and-go booster seat, offers safety tips for families on the go! As families pack in the car for summer trips, it’s important to think safety first:
Jon Sumroy
I am mad.

Bangkok, Thailand. Six of us crammed into a two-seat Tuk-Tuk (a three-wheel rickshaw). My wife, four children and me; careering through the traffic, the pedestrians, the lights and the fumes. Wind in our faces, legs out the sides, bags piled on laps. It’s part of the culture, the experience, the vacation. But it’s crazy!


We’re never so reckless at home: never allowing more people than seatbelts, always fastened, luggage stored correctly, respecting the laws of the road. Why do humans so easily excuse ourselves, ignore common sense, justify our actions and take ridiculous risks?

Everyone is mad
Yet we do this every day, with our children.

Fifty percent of US kids don’t have the correct booster seat when carpooling . One in five parents whose children carpool say they “bend the rules”, allowing children to ride without belts, booster or child restraints. Two-thirds of parents say they notice other carpool drivers bending the rules, too.

And it’s not just in our own cars. Taxis are exempt from the car seat laws, but this does not make them safe. Rental car companies extort $5 a day, for a seat; covered in another child’s dinner or worse. On vacation, when the airline won’t allow extra hand luggage. With a friend, relative or neighbor for a quick journey round the corner. Even with safety seats, you can’t fit three in a row, so it’s “scissors/paper/stone” to see who takes the risk. And then we have big kids. Not big enough to graduate to adult seatbelts, but big enough to fell babyish compared to their peers who have. How many parents succeed in the daily fight; or just give in.

So what to do? Well, it comes down to planning and discipline.

Carpools
You always have carseats for your own children but not for others in the pool. Set up a routine: leave your child’s seat with school bags overnight, ready for the next day when the carpool arrives. Lobby schools to provide storage so seats will be available for the journey home.

Relatives
It’s about time-management. Build time into every plan to juggle the boosters from car to car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report more than 20 percent of parents rarely talk about the type of restraint their own child uses in another person’s car. Whenever someone else takes your child, have the ‘carseat’ discussion.

Vacations
I was mad in Thailand, but you don’t need to be. Consider you carseats as valuable luggage. Wrap it well, check it in, add ‘fragile’ labels, examine for damage and use it on every journey.

Rentals
I had a long conversation recently with a leading rental agency employee. He confided that, in the cut-throat world of car rentals, margin are so slim that they can make more money renting the booster seats than they do the cars. A typical booster cost $30 and they can rent it out for $5 a day for six months. Do the math! It’s not surprising that they are dirty and disgusting. Take your own carseats! You know its history and you know where it’s been.

Three-in-a-Row
We all have to make sacrifices. And this is one. There are very few cars, even large ones, designed to accommodate three carseats in a row. Manufacturers add space and comfort to the side seats at the expense of the middle. Don’t take the risk! A child who needs a carseat, needs a carseat. In a collision, the injuries a child sustains when only using the adult seatbelt can be horrific. Please … just don’t do it.

The future
Now is the time for some future gazing. Would’t it be great is there was a booster seat that was so small, yet so safe, it would be easy for a child to have it with them at all times. Something so advanced, compact and portable, it could be stored almost anywhere. That way children could always be safe, no matter whose car they were in. Watch this space http://igg.me/at/mifold/.
~~~
About the author: Jon Sumroy is the inventor and CEO of mifold – the Grab-and-Go booster seat, the most advanced, compact and portable booster seat in the world. mifold is more than 10x smaller than a regular booster seat and just as safe.

The Zuckerbergs Fuel more Open Discussions on the Miscarriage Taboo

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“Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.”

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote this about he and his wife Pricilla experiencing multiple miscarriages before finally announcing  a pregnancy that will likely go to term.


Miscarriage is such a big taboo and as we’ve written here  often in Bellyitch. Having people of influence like the Zuckerbergs and other celebrities share their journey makes it easier for others not in the limelight to realize they are not alone. It can be a starting point. Kudos for Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan for being so open.

Elizabeth Cohen, an award-winning senior medical correspondent for CNN’s health, wellness and medical unit, and author of “The Empowered Patient“, wrote about how the announcement and revelation impacted her and how she feels it will help others.

READ IT HERE!

Back to School for Parents: What will You do On the First Day Back?

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I am counting down back to school. I have enjoyed entertaining the kids, taking them to events and camps and the beach, but they have been also working my last nerve so I look forward to:


1. Quiet moments working

2. Getting to attend lunch time meetings with friends and business colleagues

3. Not having guilt about not engaging them more but letting them watch TV, YouTube series and play video games for hours on end.

4. Basking in silence.

 

What else? Add yours!

5 Things to Take on your Beach Trip with the Kids This August

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Summer is coming to a close.

If you haven’t already made it to a beach, either locally or while on vacay, this is the last month to really get it in before school returns. My family has already made one local beach trip and hope to get in at least one weekend or week-long trip before September.


I’m researching and packing for my trip and here are the things I’m planning on taking and recommend:

 1

 
I have my eye on Kohl‘s crochet coverall for the beach. It’s gone down in price from $55 to $33 recently so I’m set! It’s a cool because it is white which is a great color for a super hot day and it looks like a nice sheath dress on  its own. I will feel comfortable throwing this one and walking in and out of stores on the boardwalk or while reading a book under our sand tent. Scope out the end of summer sales now and you’ll likely to pick up a similar style in a reasonable price locally as well.

2

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For the kids, I’m using the Hello Kitty lip balm that new Hello Kitty SPF 30 lip balm the brand sent me to try out (value: $1.99). The Tangerine Tango flavor is lip smacking yummy and it will keep the kids lips from getting chafed and sunburned. We already used it for our earlier trip and it did the trick and my daughter was psyched because she is already a brand loyalist to Hello Kitty.  The line is made skin caring ingredients like Jojoba, Sunflower Seed Oil, Pomegranate and Vitamin E to deliver sun protection with exceptional skin care. Fun! The brand also sells sunscreen as well, available at all drugstores nationwide, or via my Amazon.com partners HERE!

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 For the kids, to keep them shaded, cool and protected from harmful UV rays, we’re going to outfit them in some pretty cool sun hats in neutral colors that will match their outfits and their various bathing suits for the summer. I like the San Diego Company‘s seersucker striped sun hat for infants which retails for about $19 and can be picked up at Zappos.com.


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You’ll have to take a couple of beach totes. We plan to. We will go with a cheaper vinyl  or straw bag from storage or pick up a low-cost one from Wal-Mart to store towels or coverups and shorts to wear on the boardwalk.  It’s a good idea to use one that will be best able to handle wet and sandy clothes. Also, I like to take my Tommy Hilfiger tote to hole my snacks, sunglasses, magazines or books and my iPhone. It’s only about $48 and it is stylish.


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The kids love to take their play tent with them because it is easy to set up and provides a cool hideout to chill in while taking a break from splashing about in the water. When done, it folds back up into a handy portable bag that even your smallest one can tote back to the car.

Consider some of these suggestions and do enjoy your last full month of Summer vacation, everyone!

Back to School: 5 Ways to Teach School/Life Balance to Kids

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From first-hand knowledge, I know that a child can struggle in class, lose assignment sheets and notes, miss assignments and  forget to bring home books needed to complete homework if he or she is not organized. My husband and I are working through this problem with our eldest two.

That is why I was elated to recently learn about the benefits of teaching children “executive functioning skills.” They are the type of skills top or mid level execs use to succeed in work but certainly can apply to kids as well.


Organization and focus are key qualities for many successful adults, but these skills do not come naturally to grown ups, imagine if you were taught it at a young age and grew with those skills.

The Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut  actually has a program called “Executive Functioning Skills” which helps its students focus on tasks at hand, prioritize and organize in a way that will help them throughout their lives even after leaving school.

Here are 5 tips that Maryann Campbell, Executive Director of The Glenholme School, offers to assist all parents and children:

  1. Stash and trash– Prevent mountains of papers from accumulating by learning what to keep and what to toss. This is a very important skill, even for the most organized adults! Teach children at a young age what types of documents to keep and throw away as well as how to best organize the materials they are keeping. Your future storage bins will thank you! 
  1. Balancing work and fun – It is important to teach children that there is a time for work and a time for play, and that they are both important for a well-balanced life! Make time for studying, after school activities and dinner with the family.
  1. Manage the day – Parents have planners, and so should children! Teach your child to use a day planner or calendar, where they can record their school work, after-school activities, social events and family time.  Whether it is paper or digital, it doesn’t matter. The point is that the child learns to manage their time and sets realistic expectations for each day.
  1. Organize assignments –Parents can help their children stay organized with color-coded folders and a desk-top storage system for their school work.  Children also really enjoy label makers. Divide the folders and storage containers by subject, and teach children how to label accordingly.
  1. Lightening the backpack without losing the work – We’ve all witnessed the tiny child with the gigantic backpack that weighs nearly as much as they do, as well as the extreme opposite of the student who shows up to class without a pen or paper. Teaching children to carry what is important for the day will help them be better prepared for class. Go over the day’s activities the night before, make a list of what classes and activities the child has and pack accordingly.

This solid advice should help parents have a basis and foundation for passing on these critical skills to their children.

photos: courtesy Ikea, The Glenholme School