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100+ Bellyitch Blog Posts You Might Have Missed (A Collage)

 

100 posts

In February, I got an alert that someone has liked a bunch of our old Instgram posts and I decided to assemble a collage of past posts you might have missed then and I’m reposting them now!

I got an alert that someone had liked several old pics on our Bellyitch Blog Instagram page. Those pics had me reminiscing on all the great topics and celebrity pregnancies we have covered in close to 8 years of this site’s existence. Even though we’ve only been on Instagram since 2012, a couple years after the social media app even launched, we’ve used it to share with audiences on that site all the fun and informative issues we were discussing in the blog.

CLICK ANY PHOTO TO BE TAKEN TO SEE A LARGER IMAGE OR BE TAKEN TO THE SLIDE SHOW

 

 

This Infographic Shows US v World Parental Leave Policy. It’s not Pretty

parental leave

For being an industrialized nation, the United States falls woefully behind even some developing nations when it comes to paid leave for parents to have families. This infographic looks at parental leave in the US as compared to the rest of the world. Policies are changing and private companies are stepping up, but is it enough?

Paid Parental Leave


Source: Early-Childhood-Education-Degrees.com

Earth Day is Coming & Here are 30 Blogs to Help You Reduce Your Family’s Carbon Footprint

Bellyitch rewind

 

This winter, my husband went away to visit family and attend events at his native Trinidad and Tobago. While he was away, I woefully neglected to take out our recycle bin and forgot to ask our sons to do so as well. That meant, for two weeks, our pizza boxes, egg whites, milk cartons and such piled up and overflowed in the backyard. When I went over to tsk tsk shamefully and peer at it, that’s when I was struck at how large our carbon footprint is. The pile was so high.
Lucky for me, I recalled GoNannies had submitted a guest blog post a little while back where it curated 30 blog posts that helped families like mine do a better job of using earth resources. This post is perfectly timed to share today for Earth Day and Earth Month is coming up this April:
As information about climate change and the damage it could cause continues to be discovered, more and more families are realizing the importance of managing and minimizing their carbon footprint. Making a difference in the health of the planet by making a conscious effort to reduce the ecological impact that your household has is the socially responsible, ethical thing to do. These 30 blogs all feature posts underlining the importance of that task, and offer tips, hints and tricks for turning your family a bit greener.
My family’s carbon footprint
Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
Not only will energy-efficient upgrades to your home help the planet, they’ll also save your wallet each month by translating into noticeable reductions in energy costs. These five blog entries detail some of the upgrades you can make to turn your home into one that has less of an ecological impact, and will also cost less to maintain.
Sustainable Dietary Habits
Making changes to your dietary habits is an effective way of reducing your carbon footprint while also enjoying healthier, more wholesome foods. These five blog posts detail not only the importance of sustainable eating, but also include tips for how to make the switch with your family.
Recycling and Repurposing
The environment created inside a landfill is one that’s typically anaerobic due to how tightly garbage is compacted. The lack of oxygen in this environment means that even biodegradable refuse may not break down properly, which is one of the reasons why recycling is so important. Repurposing items that you might ordinarily discard can also help you save money, and will keep them out of your local landfill.
Transportation
Changing the way that your family commutes to work, school and activities is a small but significant step in the direction of ecological responsibility. Carpooling, participating in ride share programs, and utilizing mass transit are all viable alternatives to driving a car with one or two occupants, and these changes do make a difference. These five bloggers discuss their experiences and share their knowledge about earth-friendly transportation.
Reducing Waste
While keeping garbage out of landfills and managing your family’s carbon footprint is of vital importance, learning to manage and reduce your waste as a group is a great way to instill the importance of green living in children, teaching them responsible practices that they’ll remember in adulthood.
Teaching Kids Earth-Friendly Habits
It’s important for families to reduce their carbon footprints as a household, but it’s also important that kids learn the necessity of living an environmentally-responsible life as they grow up. Good habits start when children are still quite small, and these five bloggers tackle the issue of imparting green values to little ones.

 

Stay GREEN everyone!

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7 Clues You have a Horrible Friend 

Horrible friends are like cockroaches—they are hard to get rid of, and sometimes, you don’t even know that you have them. Here are a few tried and true signs I’ve found that will help you determine whether your friend is totally horrible, so you can ditch them, like, yesterday.

They talk s–t about everyone. I have a theory about gossips, and that theory is that if they talk trash about other people to you, then what makes you think they don’t talk trash about you to everyone else they know? The answer: They totally do. Time to ditch this crappy friend.

Read the rest.

Check out 7 Signs Someone Is a Horrible Friend

by Storybook Apothecary at Mode

25+ Tax Day Freebies & Cheapies!

tax day

To soothe your pain of having to fork up all that money to Uncle Sam, some enterprising companies are inviting in tax payers to come in for some freebies and cheapies! First national offers, then some ones local to Bellyitch’s headquarters, the Washington, DC metropolitan area!

Enjoy!

  • April 18, stop by a participating Great American Cookies and get a free original chocolate chip cookie while supplies last. No purchase necessary.
  • Kona Ice – Kona Ice will have their trucks parked outside post offices, tax preperation centers, and businesses all over the country on April 18 to give you some sweet relief to your Tax Day woes. Search to see where a Kona Ice truck is near you
  • Tony  Roma’s –  All members of the Email Club at Tony Roma’s will get a free dessert coupon emailed to them on April 17 that they can use through April 29 for a free Red Velvet Cake. You can sign up for Tony Roma’s Email Club from their website with the Join Our Email Club link at the top of the page. You can sign up for Tony Roma’s Email Club from their website with the Join Our Email Club link at the top of the page.
  • National Parks – Besides being tax day, it’s also the first day of National Parks Week which means that you can get into any of the nation’s national parks for free.
  • April 18, participating Boston Market locations are offering a Tax Day Special while supplies last: A Half Chicken Individual Meal with two sides and cornbread, plus a regular fountain drink and a cookie, for $10.40.
  • April 18, get free chips and queso with any purchase at California Tortilla. Just say the secret password: Tax Man.
  • Pei Wei offers $5 off a $20 or more purchase, either dine in or take out, through April 18. Show this tweet to redeem the tax break.
  • Buca di Beppo wants to give you a “tax break” with a coupon good for 18 percent off your purchase through April 18.
  • Through April 18, order online from Noodles & Company and get $4 off any $10 purchase using the code TAXDAY. And on April 18, you can bring your child in to get a free kids meal when you buy any regular entree.
  • On April 18, sing your favorite song on stage at the Hard Rock Cafe  get a free Legendary Burger. No purchase is necessary, but you have to sign up to sing.
  • Staples -Stop into a Staples to shred up to 5 pounds of paper absolutely freeThis offer is valid on April 18, 2016, at your local Staples store.
  • April 18-22, enjoy a free HydroMassage at a Planet Fitness or other location near you.
  • Until April 24, Logan’s Roadhouse is offering some tax relief. Subscribe to their email club and get an offer good for a free appetizer when you buy any adult entree.

DC Area Specific:

  • Station 4 is recognizing Tax Day with Fixed Priced $20.16 Menu on April 18th : three courses including Fat Tax Tacos, IRS Salad, H&R Pasta and Taxpayers Lava Cake.
  • On April 15, Mad Fox Brewpub, in Falls Church, is offering $10.40 growler fills on select beers from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • On April 15, the Grilled Oyster Company‘s Potomac location offers several Tax Day deals. Select Port City Brewing Co. bottles are $4, and if you buy two you’ll get a free Port City pint glass. Select oysters are 15 for $15.
  • On April 15, you can get 15 percent off your total order at both Teriyaki Madness in Fairfax, and Rita’s of Fairfax.  Just mention this Facebook post.
  • From April 15 through April 18, get a Big Bagel Bundle (13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese) for $10.40 at Bruegger’s Bagels with a coupon.
  • From April 15 to 18, take a tax break with $5 off $20. Show this tweet to cashier to redeem.
  • On April 17 and 18, participating Bananas Smoothies & Frozen Yogurt locations are giving all Certified Public Accountants a free smoothie while supplies last. Just show your license.
  • On April 18, Del Campo will offer tax-free drinks at the bar until close.
  • On April 18, Trummer’s On Main, in Clifton, Virginia, is offering half off oysters and sparkling wine for lunch and dinner.
  • April 18, the McCormick & Schmick‘s locations on K Street in D.C. and at National Harbor will offer all day happy hour.
  • April 18, enjoy half off all alcoholic beverages all day at BLT Steak in D.C.
  • April 18, World of Beer taverns in Maryland are offering a free select draught to every guest who comes in. At its Virginia locations, beer lovers will get $5 off their check in lieu of a free beer.

 

h/t : WTOP, About.com

7 Things We are Digging This Spring

spring digging 7

Regularly, friends and potential partners and others send us lots of fun items, services and other products to check out. We do an informal review and periodically share our impressions of them with you guys. Our swag closet of stuff has been brimming and we’ve been checking out some of the inventive, innovative and yummy goodies that make life easier for moms, family and others.

Here are 7 things we’re digging this Spring!

raw spice bar

1. RawSpiceBar is a subscription box that delivers 3 freshly ground, exotic and global flavors from around the world for $6/month.  Each box includes three  kitchen-tested recipes and an origin & history of spices from that region.  The creators collaborate with chefs who have an expertise in one specific region or geography, ensuring authenticity of each of our flavors and dishes.  Past spice boxes have included IstanbulNavajoJapanese, among many others.

Over 3,000 customers and more are enjoying the boxes and the company was  recently featured in The Kitchn, Tasting Table & Lifehacker.  Nice!  Per the company, here are a few highlights about Raw Spice Bar”

  • Freshly ground: ­ Our spices are whole toasted, ground and blended just a few days before we ship directly to your door so you can have your spices the way you have your coffee (fresh!).
  • Perfectly sized: ­Each of our spice blends are perfectly portioned to create a dish serving 8-12. Our recipes are kitchen tested and loved- and almost always will include an option for vegans, carnivores and vegetarians.
  • Spice discovery:­ Our blends are from old family recipes or our curated chefs- so you can explore new spice blends from experts all year long.

We got the Ethiopian kit and made some Shiro, and Mesir Wot with Injera using the spices. It was really good and almost authentic. At least it looked authentic. (smile)

kitchen04_red

2. Spring Cleaning also means redocorating and hooking up the backyard and other areas for entertainment given that the warmer months of the year are prime time for having guests over the house. Re-invigorate a room with new easy-to-install recessed lighting.

You can update the look of your kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom lighting fixtures using EzClipse which require absolutely no tools to install. They are idiot proof. In fact, I easily attached them to our recessed lighting and the effect is a new look in no time. It’s a relatively super cheap way to bring a room to life as the clips run between $20 to $50 each! Sweet!

EzClipse magnetically attaches directly to the metal trim of recessed light fixtures, changing the décor in just seconds. EzClipse offers three lines o flight conversion to revamp drab lighting fixtures: Choose from Low Profile, Stylish or Shade options that offer something for any room in your home.

baby bellini

3. If you are having a Spring or Summer Baby and are entering into your final trimester in pregnancy, it may be time get your hands on a Belli Ultimate Stretch Mark Protection Kit.

The kit includes:

WASH with Pure & Pampered Body Wash to gently cleanse without stripping skin of its natural oils. It is lavender scented. Hmmm. My favorite relaxing scent;

PREP with Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub to wash away dead skin cells and reveal new, healthy. This is great because when you are pregnant, your skin can get very oily and so periodic facial scrubs are essential for keeping the skin fresh. Belli’s PREP does the trick and is infused with essential peppermint oil which is wonderful for calming nausea;

PROTECT with Elasticity Belly Oil by massaging into skin morning and night anywhere skin needs to stretch. You really cannot avoid stretch marks if your body and skin is predisposed to get them, but it doesn’t hurt to keep amply moisturized your thighs, shoulders, arms and other areas where stretching happens during pregnancy. This product has Gotu Kola extract and Vitamin E, both which are known for combating scarring. It also has a nice fragrant lavendar oil scent to it; and finally,

MOISTURIZE with All Day Moisture Body Lotion, a luxurious cream that deeply moisturizes and comforts dry skin. This product containts essential lemon oil and Elasticity Belly Oil’s lavender which offer a spa-like experience. Belli Skincare products are allergy tested, free of paraben preservatives, phthalates, and artificial dyes or fragrances, and made in the USA. And, for expecting and new moms the products are teratology screened to avoid ingredients with even remote links to birth defects or miscarriage in published medical studies, snd Lactmed screened to avoid any ingredients that could be harmful if passed through breast milk.

The Belli Ultimate Stretch Mark Protection Kit is $75 available at belliskincare.com.

monitor

4. If baby has arrived and you are looking for a video monitor, consider Motorola’s MBP853CONNECT and MBP853CONNECT-2 wi-fi baby monitors that help you keep up with your day-to-day tasks, while keeping a watchful eye on your baby!

Product highlights include: Wi-fi capable; a high sensitivity microphone to pick up every tiny whimper or cry from baby; an out-of-range alert that tells you when you’ve ventured too deep in the yard or basement so that you won’t be able to get the benefit of the monitor; a room temperature display so you are reminded if the nursery is overheated or too cold; a two-way communication function so you can call down to a family member to bring up a bottle, toy, blanket while you are feeding, rocking the baby to sleep or entertaining baby and don’t want to leave the room; infrared night vision so you can check out baby even if the lights are all off in the nursery and 5 lullabies that play to shussh baby back to sleep or keep them sleeping through a nap.

It’s about $200 and worth the security.

Mess No More Liquid Nail Tape   DIY Manicure   Nail Art – Kiesque  Inc.

5. It’s time to show off the nails and toes again. We are fans of DIY nail design on the blog and we know now that Kiseque makes Liquid Palisade which is a unique painter tape for at-home manicures. They’re a must-have and we’re loving creating different designs. 

iseeme

6. For baby showers and baby’s First Birthday, consider gifting your little one or a new baby in the family a personalized books. I have several of these for each of my children. I See Me creates them and the quality is exquisite! They are also wonderful baptism and Godparent gifts for first personalized books and gifts. I got the My Snuggle Bunny book for my new Goddaughter and niece and it was a hit at the baby shower!

It drew in lots of ooohs and aaaahs! Definitively a gift that helps you shine at the shower.

Spice Cake with Pecans and Dates – Matthews 1812 House

7.  If you want to send a gift to someone who is getting better in the hospital, just had a baby, or are thinking of something yummy to give to mom for Mother’s Day, consider  checking out Matthews 1812 House which has a variety of decadent desserts for Mom. From tasty cookies like the Triple Chocolate Cookies, to succulent brownies like the Chocolate Chip Brownie Bar, to salty sweets like the Parmesan Cheese Bites, Mom will love these mouthwatering gifts. Plus, a variety of gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan items are available, making them a perfect fit for every mom!

We got a sample in our office the other day and it lasted less than a day they were that good! The packaging is attractive and mom (or grandmom or a Godmom to your kids)  will love it!

There you have it, 7 super cool products to check out this Spring and for Mom’s Day, Baby Showers, Baptisms and other events in your life. Enjoy!

 

6 Tips for Coping with Allergies While Pregnant

allergy

It’s that season again! Spring brings all sorts of great things like warmer weather and nicer days but it also is the season for allergies. Not fun if you are pregnant. Experiment with a nasal saline spray. A nasal saline is just salt water that helps to fight against worsening of allergies during pregnancies. Besides, they are not harmful to the fetus. Spray the nasal saline spray into the nostrils and blow your nose after a minute.

Here is our curated tips  help them cope with allergies during pregnancy:

  1. Experiment with a nasal saline spray. A nasal saline is just salt water that helps to fight against worsening of allergies during pregnancies. Besides, they are not harmful to the fetus. Spray the nasal saline spray into the nostrils and blow your nose after a minute.
  2. Use nasal irrigation with the help of a neti pot. Nasal irrigation helps to flush all the sinus passages out with the help of salt water. Fill the neti pot with a warm salt water solution and flush each nostril out with it.
  3. Using a humidifier at night to fill the air with moisture helps to relieve pressure and pain that is associated with the allergies.
  4. Use a medicated nasal spray to experience the best results. Medicated nasal sprays help especially when you start using them before the actual onset of the allergies. Consult your doctor about nasal sprays before using one to ensure that the use of one does not hamper the fetus.
  5. Allergy medication is a good option provided the other options fail though this option must be avoided during the first trimester. Consult your doctor to find an allergy medication that will work for you during the second and third trimester.
  6. If you had been using allergy shots before pregnancy, you can continue using them during pregnancy. It is, however, not recommended to start allergy shots after getting pregnant.

The key to coping with allergies during pregnancy is taking proper medications. Ensure that you talk to your doctor about medication during pregnancy.

 

5 Tax Credits for 2016 Parents Should Know

child tax credit

This year, we all got an extension for the deadline to file our taxes because the traditional date falls on the District of Columbia’s holiday, Emancipation Day which celebrates the end of slavery in DC. So instead of April 15, this year taxes are due on April 29, 2016! 

So as you prepare to file and head off to the tax man last minute, here are 5 credits parents need to know about and should consider claiming this year.

1. Exemptions for dependents

 You can claim your new baby as a dependent, which, for 2015, exempts $4,000 of your hard-earned money from taxation. For 2016, this number actually goes up to $4,050. This exemption is phased out at certain income levels. For 2015 taxes, the limit is $258,250 for single parents and $309,000 for married couples filing jointly. For 2016, the limits are $259,400 and $311,300, respectively. Similarly, you can’t claim an exemption if you’re subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax.

2. Child Tax Credit

 Depending on your income, you may be able to claim a $1,000 tax credit every year until your child reaches age 17. Better yet, you can start claiming the credit the year your child is born, even if that doesn’t happen until December. In other words, if you had a baby on Dec. 31, 2015, you can still snag that $1,000 for 2015. Sweet!

Remember, unlike with  deductions, credits lower your tax bill dollar for dollar. However, similar to  exemptions for dependents, the child tax credit phases out at higher income levels, though you cannot even claim it until you’ve earned more than $75,000 if you’re single or $110,000 if you’re married and filing jointly. The credit has the ability to reduce your tax liability to zero, but it is not refundable, meaning, it cannot count towards a refund from the IRS! Booo!!

3. Earned Income Tax Credit

Don’t worry those of you in the low to moderate income bracket, the Earned Income Tax Credit makes you eligible for up to 3,359. However, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax benefit for those with with only one qualifying child. And the EITC is a fully refundable credit, which means that if it’s more than large enough to reduce your tax liability to zero, then you’ll receive any remaining credit money as a refund from the IRS.

Yippeee!

4. Child and Dependent Care Credit

Childcare costs increases each year and makes up the chunk of most family budgets. The Child and Dependent Care Credit lets you claim up to 35% of the cost of qualifying child care expenses (such as a day care center or summer camp) up to a maximum of $3,000 for one child under 13, or $6,000 for two or more children under 13.  For example, if you have an infant in day care and pay $5,000 per year, you can claim up to $1,050 (35% of the $3,000 maximum) as a tax credit depending on your income.

Lower income people who earn less than $15,000 can qualify for the full 35%. That percentage falls by 1% for every additional $2,000 of income you earn until it reaches 20% for an income of $43,000 or more. You must have earned income to qualify for the credit, and if you’re married, you must file a joint tax return. Additionally, you must have paid a child care provider for the purpose of enabling you and your spouse to either work or look for work.

Unlike some other credits, this one doesn’t have an income limit, however families with Stay-At-Home moms who have a nanny caring for the kids can NOT take this credit. It is also refundable.

5. Adoption credit

If you adopted a kid last year, you can claim up $13,400 per child for qualified adoption expenses.  This credit phases out, depending on the income at $201,010 which is a higher income phase out level compared to the income level for the child tax and child care credits. Though this credit was once refundable, that’s no longer the case . However, any credit in excess of your tax liability can be carried forward for up to five years.

Of course, keeping track of all these tax breaks could prove challenging when you’re juggling the dozens of daily tasks that come with raising children. But when you sit down to do your taxes this year, it pays to see whether you’re eligible for any of them, because any amount of money can go a long way toward diapers, school supplies, and the ever-growing list of supplies you’ll need to navigate the wild and crazy journey that is parenthood.

You Need Date Night Ideas: We got 25 of Them for you!

 

Whether you are pregnant, have a new baby, or a vet parent, going out with your partner or spouse without the children (if you already have them) is essential to keep the spark in your relationship alive!

Here are 25 Date Night ideas of things to consider for a night soon with your sweetheart!

  1. Go dancing at a night club
  2. Get Dinner and a go to a movie at the cinema
  3. Go shoot some pool and grab beer at a local watering hole and chill
  4. Plan and go out for dinner with other couples
  5. Go see an exhibit at the art gallery and grab lunch afterwards
  6. Find a drive in or second run theater and catch an old movie on the big screen
  7. Go Rollerskating or Iceskating (if its’ winter) at a rink
  8. Go to the Driving or Shooting Range
  9. See an outdoor concert on the lawn when a favorite act comes to town
  10. Go Bike Riding (or Running, Jogging or Kayaking or whatever active sport you both enjoy)
  11. Check out a local jazz club and sip wine while enjoying the performance
  12. Test our your own vocal skills and go to Karaoke night
  13. Go Bowling
  14. Go on a road trip to a nearby town, book a room and stay overnight (if you have a sitter for that long of course)
  15. Check out a Comedy Show, Order the 2 drink minium
  16. Go Miniature golfing
  17. Go Go-Kart racing
  18. Check out a professional sports game like Baseball, Basketball, Hockey or Soccer
  19. Have a picnic in the living room after the kids are asleep
  20. Go for a walk on a beach
  21. Have a movie night in the basement and pop your own popcorn
  22. Use a Living Social or Groupon deal for a cooking class or rock climbing or something else you wouldn’t ordinarily do unless you got it at a really good price
  23. Go RockClimbing in an inside rock climbing center
  24. Go for drinks at a lounge and chill
  25. Find one of the highest elevation points in the city, get out a blanket and star gaze

There you have it! Plenty of ideas to get you thinking! Enjoy!