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RoadTrip MustHave: This App Tells You Where the Nearest Clean Bathroom Is

sit or squat

If you are heading on a road trip this summer, you know the pains of finding a clean bathroom to do a diaper change or take a fidgety toddler who you would need to physically hold over a dirty toilet seat in a public bathroom.

Good thing for technology to rescue modern parents.

Charmin toilet paper sponsors the Sit or Squat free app which determines your current location and gives you an array of options of bathrooms near you. When you click on the location, there is the option to vote for it’s rating and view what others have to say.

During a road trip, you will know whether it would be easy to take your kid in the stall or whether you should make him hold it and find another one.

Similar to Sit or Squat, Whizzer app gives you the location of bathrooms near you. There is a rating system showing overall cleanliness scores as well as the amenities that the facility offers (such as changing tables and if there is a fee to use a particular restroom). I think that app has tanked tho since it launched a couple years ago.

Nice. Download Sit or Squat HERE on iTunes or Google Play!

CBS did a report last year about another app that tells you when is the best time in any movie to run to the bathroom. It’s great for parents too who may not want to miss the best or most important parts of a film.

READ:

If you’re heading to the movies this weekend, an app could help with the one thing you might not be thinking about until it’s too late to ignore, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

For audiences torn between leaving a great movie and the pain of a needed bathroom break, the RunPee app comes to the rescue.

RunPee is the brainchild of Dan Florio, a former software engineer in Asheville, North Carolina. The 48-year-old was inspired to design it in 2008 after he saw “King Kong” in theaters — a three-hour epic.

Ninety minutes in, it was that time.

“By the end of the movie I couldn’t enjoy it. All I wanted was for King Kong — for his heart to stop so the movie would be over and I could run to the restroom,” Florio said. “Out of that pain came the RunPee app.”

Florio watches movies differently than most. We want the high drama, the big laugh or the memorable one-liner, while he’s looking for any three-to-four-minute stretch viewers can live without seeing.

“You don’t want to come back into the theater and someone to be like, ‘Hey Darth Vader is Luke’s father,'” Florio said.

The app gives audiences several opportunities to go every movie and a quick summary of what they missed.

When it’s time to think about going, the user’s phone vibrates with an alert. The app now has 1 million downloads, and 450,000 active users with active bladders and occasional complaints.

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I also love the names of these apps and their liberal use of colloquial and slang terms for everyday things. ha!

 

Sun-Safe Pokémon Go Hunting Tips for Parents

guest post

safe hunting

As a parenting expert, I face many questions from moms about what products are best for their kids in order to maintain healthy hair, skin and what they can do to make sure their children know the rules of the busy roads, especially when the summer heat becomes too overwhelming. As many kids are out utilizing their time trying to hunt their favorite Pokemon with the new, wildly famous game Pokemon Go, it’s very important to teach your children the fundamental basics of street safety.

Also, whether your kids face troubles with their hair and skin before or after they play outside, learning what to use to combat harmful UV Rays will essentially benefit them in the long run.  After years of trial and error, advice from other moms, and help from tried and true products and tools – I am here to offer some of the best tips and tricks I’ve found to make Pokemon hunting fun and safe as your kids spend their day outside catching ‘em all!

Look both ways before crossing, always.

  • It doesn’t matter if there are 10 cars or 1 car passing by, instill the importance of stopping and looking both ways into your kid’s head. Some cars are quieter than others and there could be blind spots in the road, so train them to use their eyes and ears before crossing the street.

Keep your hair in check.

  • It’s a challenge controlling children’s hair, especially in the hot summer heat. A curl refreshing spray can make sunny days easier because it will revitalize and hydrate curls and tame unwanted frizz that usually surfaces from the heat. Spray the refresher in their hair and throw it up in a ponytail – doing this will minimize distractions as it will keep their hair out of their faces and more aware of their surroundings! I recommend Design Essentials Coconut & Monoi Curl Refresher, which I can conveniently pick up from my local CVS and is kid-approved!

Know the signs.

  • It’s important to teach your children the meanings of traffic signals and signs at a young age, so it becomes second nature to them later. Take time to explain tricky signage so children know when they are approaching heavy traffic areas, highways or non-local roads, and animal crossing information.

One word: hydrate.

  • Staying hydrated is key to surviving the beaming summer sun, and catching Pokemon encourages a ton of kid-friendly fun in the great outdoors. It’s harder for your kid to pay attention if they’re suffering from dehydration and it can often result in dangerous situations that are best to be avoided at all times. Make sure your kids have a full water bottle in hand!

Sunblock saves the day.

  • There will be plenty of times where your kid will try to argue that “they don’t need to put on sunscreen.” While it can be a tedious task to slather on sunblock before going outside, coming home with tomato red skin can be a bit more annoying than not catching Pikachu.

Sidewalk to crosswalk

  • Even though taking shortcuts to cross the street seem more tempting than walking all the way to the pedestrian crossing, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take the sidewalk to the crosswalk to ensure a safe passageway to you next Pokemon capture.

Pucker Up.

  • While we don’t think of it as often as hair and skin, your kids lips also deserve the utmost care while they’re out playing in the heat. Their lips are just as exposed as the rest of their body, so if they’re not SPF protected, heat blisters can pop up. Any lip balm is super easy to pack away in your kid’s pocket when they go out!

Listen, don’t just look.

  • Hearing vehicles coming is just as important as seeing them. Playing loud music is extremely distracting and mutes out any sign of a car coming towards you, so let your children know to keep their headphones out of sight at busy intersections.

If you can’t see the driver’s face, they can’t see you.

  • It’s equally as important to make sure the driver is paying as much attention as the person crossing the street. Assure that the driver has noted your child’s presence before they step on the gas.

Making sure your kids are sun-safe while playing outside can prove to be a challenge, and being a worried parent only comes with the territory. Implementing these tips and tricks into your children’s daily routine – especially before they prepare for a full day’s worth of Pokemon hunting – will help you and your kids as much as it has helped me and my daughter!

Tammy Gold
About Tammy Gold:

Tammy Gold, LCSW, MSW, CEC, is a Licensed Therapist, Certified Parent Coach, Author, and Founder of Gold Parent Coaching. As a nationally recognized parenting expert, Gold appears regularly on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Fox and CBS News. She is one of the first therapists to bring traditional psychotherapy tools to the process of finding and enhancing the quality of childcare, basing her Gold Standard hiring process on Dr. John Bowlby’s attachment theory, Erik Erikson’s stages of child development, and Mary Ainsworth’s secure base. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her graduate degree in Social Work from Columbia University. Learn more at www.TammyGold.com or follow Tammy @TammyGoldCoach.

The Mason Jar Salad Guide for Busy Moms

salad in jar

I am about to embark on a journey to lose some weight before my birthday next month. I  already pretty much adopt the Mediterranean Diet lifestyle as I am a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally. I will severely limit the carbs and will rely heavily on eating salads. It can get boring relying on salads for lunch and dinner to get through the day but I think variety will help me keep it interesting and not get too bored.

Naturally, I gravitated to Pinterest and found tons of great boards with salad recipes and that is when I also discovered this wonderful Salads in a mason jar trend like here and here and here and here.

It’s great for busy moms on the go! You pick up some large mason jars with lids, about 5 to 7, enough to last the work week. Then you pre-load and make your salads the night before so in the morning, you just grab  your jar and head out to work. Store them in the office fridge or an insulated lunch kit.

For stay-at-home and work-at-home moms like myself, we can just whip them out during the day and don’t have to worry about the stress of deciding what to eat.

I also found a wonderful blog, Everyday Eyecandy that has a marvelous post with everything you need to know about salads in a jar!

Here are the initial tips:

TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SALAD IN A JAR

  1. THE most important thing to remember about a salad in a jar: DRESSING ON THE BOTTOM.  You want to make sure that your greens are as far away from your dressing as you can get them. It keeps your greens fresh and crisp.
  2. Jam pack your jars. Not only does it make a good salad, but it keeps everything from moving around. The less air between your layers, the longer your salad will last.
  3. If you are making a side salad( like you are taking a soup and salad or a salad and a sandwich), use the  pint-sized mason jars.  If you are going to make your salad a full meal, use the quart sized jars.
  4. The longest I’ve ever saved a salad in the jar in the fridge was 8 days. The veggies on the bottom were marinated in the dressing, but they were delicious.
  5. Be sure to add a protein. You want it to last.

There is plenty more recipes and advice! Check out the entire post here!  There are also great recipes at the Back to Her Roots blog! Enjoy!

photo: courtesy Brit&Co

Parent Switcheroo: Healthy Snacks You Can Disguise as Junk Food



Getting the children to eat healthy is a challenge. A lot of kids would prefer to eat junk food versus good healthy food.



However, there are ways to weave healthy ingredients into foods that children associate with yummy junk food.



With a little research online you can come up with some wonderful creations.



Baked sweet potato chips,banana and peanut butter sandwiches, baked potato chips, yogurt pops and strawberry wraps are among the different types of foods you can dress up as yummy but good for them snacks.



Find out 20 healthy snacks that look like junk food and their recipes here!

Report: Iron Deficiency Puts 1/3 Pregnant Women At Risk

iron

Around 35 percent of expectant mothers may be at risk of pregnancy complications – such as miscarriage or preterm birth – as a result of iron deficiency. This is the conclusion of a new study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Iron deficiency is a common form of anemia, arising when the body does not have enough iron – a mineral present in a number of foods, including beef, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dried fruits.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 30 percent of the global population are anemic, with most cases attributable to iron deficiency.

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Eco Friday: How to Make Your Own Baby Food

how to make your own baby food

As concerns about genetically modified produce and dangerous farming practices escalate, and controversy surrounding Monsanto become more common, the number of parents committed to – or at least considering the practice of – making their own baby food is also on the rise. There are also parents who would love to provide their baby with organically grown, preservative- and additive-free foods, but are under the misconception that the process is a long and laborious one. In fact, making baby food from locally or organically grown fruits and vegetables is surprisingly simple.

The Price Factor

Any parent who’s seen the expensive systems advertised for making and storing baby food at home could easily be fooled into thinking that the process is not only a difficult or time-consuming one, but also an incredibly pricey option. The truth is, those systems are only more convenient than the tools you already have in your kitchen, if that, and they are by no means necessary to create fresh, nutritious food of verifiable origins for your bundle of joy. With nothing more than a pot, a knife, a cutting board, fresh produce, and a blender, you can be on the path to becoming an in-demand chef for the smaller set. Because saving money by making healthful food for your baby rather than paying more for processed jarred food is one of the many selling points of taking on the task, spending a small fortune on an entire system with all the bells and whistles is unnecessary.

Storage

Buying a fully-stocked homemade baby food system brings a set of storage containers to the party, but there are several storage options at your disposal that will work just as well in conjunction with the blender you already have. Rather than purchasing a space-hogging, pricey system, take advantage of the variety of storage solutions available to you for a fraction of the cost.

For frozen foods, simply prepare an item in accordance with your chosen recipe, and allow it to cool. Spoon the pureed food into ice cube trays and freeze them until they’re solid, then pop the cubes out and into carefully labeled freezer bags. Foods can then be defrosted in just the amount you need, eliminating waste and allowing you to make food in large batches when you have free time, rather than scrambling to make baby food every day. Small storage bowls are widely and readily available in the market today, and are also suitable for baby food storage. Just be sure that any plastic containers you purchase are BPA free in order to avoid any potential health risks.

Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Blender

Because small batches of food tend to be pushed to the sides of a blender carafe and missed by the blades, your blender is most effective as a method of pureeing baby food when you’re working with a fairly substantial amount of food. This small drawback is eliminated, however, by setting aside an afternoon to make and freeze enough food for a few weeks. Properly stored in airtight freezer containers, your baby food will have a shelf life of up to three months.

Blenders are also great at liquefying solid foods, which means that it’s important to keep a close eye on food that’s being pureed in a blender, lest it become a very thin soup. Always use the pulse button for maximum control over the texture and consistency of the food; using even a low continuous setting could turn your perfectly prepared produce into something more akin to a juice if you’re distracted from the running blender for a moment. With children in the house, there’s constant potential for distraction, so use the pulse button and watch carefully. Remember to scrape down the sides of the blender carafe regularly as well to ensure a uniform texture with few lumps.

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Get Your Summer Baby Shower Ideas!

summer shower

Throwing a baby shower this summer? While you’re trying to keep the mother-to-be cool, there are lots of cool and cute shower themes we found that will work well indoors or out. We’re talking strawberry shortcake, ice cream cones, lemonade, baseball, camping and more! Whether you want to go over-the-top, or keep it simple, there’s a stunning summer baby shower theme just for you.

Check out the slideshow here!

Back to School Hairstyle Ideas for Long Hair (8 LINKS)

back to school

Finding the perfect and easy-to-pull-off  hair for school can be a challenge especially if you have a child that has extremely long hair! Thank goodness for our friends from Aupair.net for culling this wonderful list of 24 websites where you can go to nab fab, cute and age-appropriate hairstyle for your tot to teen. Reposting this for Back To School prep.

 Here are 8 links dedicated to long hair
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African ‘Fertility’ Waist Beads 101

I went on a weekend getaway and rediscovered the waist beads my mom brought back for me from her trip to Sierra Leone, Africa earlier this year. It reminded me to share more about the  beads on the blog because there is a long history in the beads that include fertility.

In fact, they are called “fertility beads” in some cultures. It is thought that they originated with the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, West Africa but other West African nations like Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone have adopted them. They are considered to be “of the earth” or the source of life as many women wear them during pregnancy to protect the baby from evil spirits and ensure a safe labor an delivery.

Some wear them to encourage fertility. It’s not scientific of course, but steeped in tradition. Others believe the beads have healing property. Some African women wear them to ward themselves form negative energy.

Erotic Nature of Beads

In some parts of Ghana and Nigeria, people have a belief that the waist beads possess some erotic appeal and have the power to incite desire or deep emotional response on men.

They Symbolism of the Colors 

The colors and stones or beads used in the beads have different meaning too. Colorful rainbow beads are considered to have balancing properties.

~Yellow- Symbol of wisdom/knowledge, clarity, increases awareness & stress relief.

~Blue- Symbol of knowledge, healing, peace, truth & harmony.

~Orange – Symbol of optimism, positive mood & promotes self-confidence.

~Pink- This color is associated with unconditional love, romance, purity, femininity & healing.

~Green – This color is associated with prosperity, hope, harmony & healing.

~Red – Self-confidence, vitality, sexual energy, passion & courage.

~violet – Color symbolizes intuition, power, inspiration & royalty.

~Gray – Symbol of wisdom & communication.

~Brown – Symbol of comfort, security, practicality.

~Black- Symbolizes energy & strength. (source)

Beads can be made with semi-precious stones thought to heal certain ailments. They are sold, made with all types of materials shell, gemstone, glass, plastic, pearl or even clay or wood.

 

How to Wear Them

Waist beads are created to be worn below the belly. I have worn mine at my mid-riff as well. Some prefer to wear them under their clothing only to be seen by themselves or their spouses or partners. Others flaunt them on bare bellies or even over their clothing.

Waistbeads for tracking Weigh Management

Many women wear the beads as an instrument in losing weight. When the strands begin to be too tight, the wearer knows it may be time to cut back and start exercising if they want to maintain their weight. Also, for those on a weightloss journey, as the beads become looser, they know they are definitely on a downard trajectory as the scales do not always indicate loss when one is building muscle at the same time as muscle weighs more than  fat.

 

Modern Use

In modern culture, waistbeads have been adopted to flaunt and draw attention to a trim midsection or tight abs.  Women in Ghana have worn them to accentuate their hips.

They are more of a fashion element though those who wear them ought to be aware of their cultural origins and significance just in case they are questioned or asked about them while out and about. It is the best thing to be aware when donning an item of clothing or style that originates in a culture that is not their own. You don’t want to be accused of “cultural appropriation.”

Cost

If you don’t have a family member or friend coming back from Africa, certainly, you can grab yourself some from Etsy shops. I found them sold Here, Here and Here for about $10 and up. If you spot any on sale for $5, they may not be authentic and genuine but a mass-produced copy. Beware!

Lupita Nyong’o, a Bellyitch Blog fave was spotted wearing one (above) back in 2014 when she was in Maui for the Maui Film Festival. She was seen looking tone and effortlessly chic in a Marysia Swim bikini and even Instagrammed a pic from the locale.

SHOP THE LOOK!

 

10 Boss Tips for Organizing All Your Kids’ Toys

toys

Kids accumulate a mountain of toys.  Harried parents, especially those that work extended hours, may not have time to work out an organizational system to keep disorder to a minimum. Here are 10 tips for storing toys in a functional manner.

  1. Keep it Low – Unless you want to spend your day fetching toys for your pint-sized charges, make sure that the bulk of your storage system is engineered for their short stature. Vertical storage may be great for older kids, but it just creates frustration in toddlers and can inspire them to embark on unsafe climbing expeditions for the things they want but can’t reach.
  2. Use Bins and Baskets – While the number of toys your charges have acquired may have outgrown their toy box, put older toys aside as new toys come in, arrange a series of bins and baskets to contain the overflow.
  3. Store Like With Like – Keeping toy trucks in one container and blocks in another helps a toddler find exactly what he’s looking for without emptying each and every bin of its contents during his search. This method also makes clean up easier for both you and your charges when playtime ends.
  4. Keep Shelves Safe – Even low-slung shelves can present a tipping hazard if they’re pulled on with enough force, which can easily happen when a toddler attempts to climb them. Anchoring shelves to make them safe and to prevent injuries as a result of a top-heavy tip-over is an essential part of organizing kids’ rooms.
  5. Make Favorites Easy to Find – Most children, even at the toddler stage, have a few favorite toys that see far more action than the others. Keeping these perennial favorites in easy reach makes her less likely to take out several toys that don’t quite live up to her expectations simply because her old faithfuls are nowhere to be found.
  6. Store Special Occasion Toys Out of Sight – Modeling dough, bubble solution and any other messy toys that must be used with close supervision are best stored out of sight to help reduce the temptation to pull them out before you’re prepared to deal with the ensuing mess. By keeping these toys stowed away, you can also generate a ton of excitement when you do present them.
  7. Make Clean Up Part of Your Routine Together – Children thrive when they have a relatively stable daily routine; making clean-up a regular part of your day and working together to put everything away helps toddlers understand that cleaning up is part of playing and that he’s partially responsible for helping to accomplish that task.
  8. Designate Containers For Toys in Common Areas – If your children play with toys in common areas like the living or family rooms, designating one bin or container per child is an effective way of corralling toys while still keeping them separated. Color-coding containers helps kids who aren’t reading pick out their own bin as they get a bit older as well.
  9. Hammocks For Stuffed Animals – Most toddlers have already amassed an impressive collection of stuffed animals and plush toys, but probably only have one or two favorites. Toy hammocks are a great solution because they are easy to put up and can accommodate several toys safely. Make sure, however, that hammocks are placed in a manner that doesn’t encourage scaling furniture in order to reach the toys inside.
  10. Labels Are Your Friend – While your toddler-aged kids might not be able to read, labels are still among the most useful organizational tool at your disposal. You’re not likely to remember which bin is designated for each kind of toy without a clue; labeling containers helps you keep track of them and makes clean-up time as short as possible. Labels that have both pictures and words can also promote word recognition.

reprinted with permission