Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine's Day Packages!

Hey Dads! Lost at where to start for Valentine’s Day but want to give your partner the perfect gift? Looking for something different this year? How about one of our LLD customized packages? We will help guide you towards the perfect Valentine’s gift specialized to your partner’s favorite places, products and more! And the BEST part-we will provide you with a babysitter to cover the kids while your partner enjoys!

Email Lindsay to get your gift set-up today lindsay.bell@luckylildarlings.com

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Way to Bring Balance to Your Family

Della Clark, former Division I NCAA All-American, uses the power of sports to empower children and teach them lifelong values. 

I recently sat down with Della, who is also a certified Reiki Practitioner. Reiki is the Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that allows one to manifest a life of happiness, harmony and health. 

Her number one goal no matter who she works with is to help them create a life overflowing with happiness, health and harmony. The former All-American uses the power of sports and Reiki to empower children. Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of healing that works with the body, emotions, mind and spirit. Through speaking with Della one can really see her passion for helping others and the positive effects Reiki has had on the families she has worked with.  Each family is creating a healthier, more organized and calm household for their children.

Through Della's many years in competitive sports she truly learned of the power athletics has to contribute to a well balanced life. "Participation in sports transcends cultures, background and situations to teach us healthy competition, equality and sportsmanship," said Della. 

Della helps families create opportunities to involve their children in sports and teach them lifelong lessons. 

For more info contact Della at del.clark864@gmail.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekend Ideas for NY, CT, and LA LLD Families

Want to mix up your weekend routine a little? With January coming to a close, LLD has found some exciting events to kick off February and keep your lil’ ones entertained for the whole weekend!

First, for all you New Yorkers out there, it is an absolute MUST to stop by some of these kid-friendly Chinese New Year Events. This Saturday the 28th, stroll on over to the Children’s Museum of Art at 103 Charlton Street for the Around The World With CMA: Lunar New Year Event. From 10 to 5 your family can explore the arts and culture of New York’s Chinese community. It promises to be an afternoon to remember filled with puppet performances, dances, and beautiful selections of art.

If inside isn’t your thing, why not head over to Heather Garden in Fort Tyron Park (at the intersection of Cabrini Boulevard & Ft. Washington Ave.). This Saturday from 1-2:30 take your kids on their own little adventure: A Nature Scavenger Hunt! Using a more playful approach to learning, environmental educator Robin Sanchez will help your lil’ ones discover the great outdoors in one of their very own parks.

Don’t worry all our CT families, we haven’t forgotten about you. This weekend and almost every weekend for the next couple months the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield will be hosting Family Friendly Drop In Weekends. With self-guided and hands-on projects for the kids, you just can’t lose!

And that’s not all folks! If you pass through Stamford on Sunday, you could enjoy a winter hike, perform science experiments like making slime and crystal snowflakes, or even meet some animals up close and personal at the Stamford Museum’s Sunday Explorers, Admission is free and they’ll be there from 1 to 3:30!

Last, but certainly not least, we found some Chinese New Year themed events for all our families in LA. Who could resist the Golden Dragon Parade in downtown LA. The colorful celebration notes the first day of the lunar New Year. Beginning at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Broadway, your kids will love the bands, entertainers, cultural groups, giant floats, and of course, the enormous golden dragon.

To continue the festivities, stop by Monterey Park where 130 different booths will fill with vendors selling food, music, arts and crafts and so much more! Your kids will love the traditional firecrackers, the Lion and Dragon dances, martial arts, and a sparkling carousel. This Chinese New Year Festival is not one to miss!

Have a delightful weekend to all our families!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reliable Childcare Makes for a Well Balanced Family

Childcare is an investment. I realize that on every level and I’m not yet a mother.  It is timely. It is a financial commitment. Click here to read Denise Schipani’s post on Daily Worth, she spent over $80,000 on childcare while her children were growing up and she says it was worth every penny. Finally, it is an emotional commitment. But in the end, done right, it makes for a happier, healthier and better balanced family.

The trick is finding the best childcare that works for your family.  And how may one go around doing that? Click here for my tips, as featured on The Healthy Elements Blog, on finding reliable childcare for you!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snack time made Fun!

Once again it is snack time and I have just returned from the grocery store with a hungry, fussy three year old. 

I have just started to unload the car full of groceries and out of the corner of her eye she spots the bight colored FunBites. I explained to her that they are for making food fun to eat. With that, she pushed me out of the way to start making her very own creative snack. I showed her just once with a slice of cheese. She LOVED  the fact that she could make it solo. Ms. Independent. Not only did she make it herself, but she counted and grouped all her bites together before she ate EVERYTHING. 

The best part for me was that it kept my daughter entertained so I could put all the groceries away!  Thank you FunBites for a great way to eat a healthy snack and giving mom a quiet ten minutes to put everything away!
Funbites is the first and only kitchen tool to cut kids’ food into FUN-SHAPED BITE-SIZED PIECES.  It goes beyond sandwich cutters and works on a variety of foods like pancakes, burgers, brownies and more!  FunBites promises to get kids to try new things and eat healthier.  It’s mealtime made stress-free and fun. Use code FreeShipJan at checkout for 15% off your entire order until 1/31/12.

Written by Ilene Young, mother of one and LLD City Coordinator in Connecticut. Ilene can be reached at ilene.young@luckylildarlings.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

5 signs of a great sitter

When do you know you found a top-notch sitter? Here are my 5 signs of a great sitter!

She asks questions! Your sitter is through, savvy & smart. You know you found a gem if she asks you for the 411 before she starts babysitting. Does your lil’ one have allergies? Can you give me a tour of your home so I know where everything is? Is there anything you need me to do for you when the kids fall asleep? 

      She doesn’t look at her phone every 5 minutes. The sitter’s attention should be fully on your child. I frequently see nannies pushing strollers talking on their phones. How can a childcare provider push a stroller, hold up a phone up to her ear and pay attention to your child’s needs? I understand the headset in one ear and the other ear for the child for a quick call, but long time phone conversations are a NO. Also, I don’t like when sitters are constantly texting. Never should a sitter answer a phone call on the job when the kids are awake, unless they ask permission ahead of time.

      She is CPR Trained/Certified and knows the ropes of fire safety.  Wouldn’t you feel safer if your childcare provider could administer CPR if necessary? Or if someone is choking and your child needs the Heimlich?  Go with someone that is confident, educated and prepared.

     College-Educated & Professional. She has her 4-year degree, and possibly beyond. She is working full/part-time and has an impressive career.  She’s well rounded, traveled and brings her experience to provide the best childcare for your child.

     She can put on a show! Your child learns something new from her every time. She either brings activities, or has some great new activity for the kids to play with. She’s unique and fun, and your child looks forward to her visit every time.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekend Must Do's for Your Lil' Ones

Meet our new LLD sitter Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP who is a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Whole Living Expert, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free 'Clean' recipes for the home. Amie is the author of the blog, The Healthy Apple and the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. She works hands-on with families as a Personal Chef and Healthy Family Pantry Stylist to guide them through their transition into a healthier lifestyle.  Amie works with Whole Foods Market as their Gluten-Free Manhattan Cooking Instructor and is a Gluten-Free Industry Innovator when it comes to helping clients, the community, companies and client live a healthy and happy life. If you are interested in learning more about her services + babysitting email us! 

Here are Amie's Weekend To-Do's for Kids:
NYC Kid's Food Festival: Take your kids to the 1st Kid's Food Festival this weekend at Bryant Park. I'll be presenting on Sunday at 3PM but stop by all weekend for free activities about making balanced food choices through flavor and fun!
Union Square Farmers Market: Even though it's going to snow tomorrow, head out to the Union Square Farmers Market to pick up some brussels sprouts and squash to roast with your kids for a warming meal. Come meet me on Saturday in Union Square for market shopping!
Saturday Family Programs: Celebrate Chinese New YearCelebrate the New Lunar Year with Grace Chang and her dragon Jin Jin at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

5 Tips for Balancing Hormones Naturally

Nicole Jardim is a certified women's holistic health coach specializing in the treatment of hormonal imbalances that cause conditions like PMS, fibroids, infertility and endometriosis.

1. Avoid caffeine (coffee, soda and other “energy” drinks):
Caffeine increases estrogen levels. Studies have shown that drinking just two cups of coffee a day boosts levels of estradiol, a natural estrogen. Every woman has a natural, individualized ratio of estrogen and progesterone that surges and recedes to make up her unique menstrual cycle. When estrogen is too high and progesterone is too low, it tends to irritate the nervous system causing anxiety, irritability and insomnia. On the flip side, progesterone is a natural diuretic, sleep aid, anti-anxiety compound, and metabolism stimulator. It acts like Valium.

2. Avoid dairy products: So here’s the scoop - most dairy in the US comes from factory farms, where cows are fed products not natural to their diet, such as grain, corn and soy. Some are injected with bioengineered hormones that forces the cows to produce more milk than their bodies normally would. This over-stimulation of the cow’s udder causes it to become infected, thus requiring antibiotics. As a result, these added hormones and antibiotics reside in the milk, which interfere with the female hormonal system - most notably changing the way hormones are metabolized in the bowel and ultimately changing our hormonal levels. 

Nicole & her God child

3. Choose organic fish and meat when possible: Non-organic animals are fed estrogenic steroids to fatten them up. When we eat these foods, the estrogenic compounds are passed into our blood stream causing a rise in estrogen levels. This ultimately leads to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance has been linked to some unpleasant conditions such as migraines, PMS, fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility, weight gain and irregular periods.

4. Eat full fat products (skip fat-free products): Low-fat diets are one of the main reasons so many women have hormonal imbalances. We know this may sound crazy since we’ve been told for years to cut out fat but fat is your friend! We’re not condoning over-consumption of fat or cholesterol by any means but guess what? Your hormones are made out of cholesterol. If you don’t eat enough cholesterol, your body can’t make hormones. If you are not eating sufficient amounts of fat and cholesterol, you could be exacerbating your hormonal imbalance. Natural, healthy fats include olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fish.

5. Stop the stress: Okay, we know that this isn’t entirely possible but you sure need to try. Here’s why: studies have shown that stress affects the endocrine system in such a way that it throws off our hormonal balance, which can literally stop ovulation from happening. Therefore, it is important to find ways to lessen the load and start having some FUN! Try yoga, guided meditations or an exercise routine that you actually like.

Nicole is a women’s holistic health counselor specializing in the treatment of hormonal imbalances through food and lifestyle modification. Her latest program is called Fix Your Period – 8 Weeks to Better Periods in 2012.  Go to www.fixyourperiod.com for all the details. You can contact her at nicole@thehealthyelements.com or visit her website at www.thehealthyelements.com.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Check out what I heard from Daily Candy Kids!  The ibaby Video Monitor for iphones and ipads! 

Big brother is watching. So is the babysitter on her iPad, dad on his iPhone, and mom on her office computer.
As many as four people at once can keep an eye on your prize with the iBaby Monitor — the only mobile video monitor with two-way audio that we have spied on the market.

High-tech doesn’t mean complicated. Just download the app to your iPhone, iPad, or computer; plug the monitor into your network to register; and install the camera in the room. Our favorite perk is that you can control the camera lens with just a swipe of your finger. So if your little Houdini disappears from view, drag your finger across the screen to find him.

Alerts are issued when baby lets out a cry or makes a move. Two-way audio capabilities let you give a comforting “shhhh” from anywhere you have a connection. Plus, infrared night vision allows you to spy on baby in the middle of the night. You can even take pictures of tushy-up sleeping using your device’s camera.

Available online at store.apple.com, $200. For more information, go to ibabylabs.com.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Family Friendly Center in Westchester!

Looking for a new family friendly day activity? How about Westchester's Ridge Hill center? I checked it out today and despite the chilly temps, it was perfect to walk around and get some fresh air. They just newly opened, so only a few stores are up and running, but it was enough for me; GAP, Old Navy, H&M, Orvis, Desigual, Charming CHARLIE and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Creatively designed to be gracious and magnificent, yet comfortable and charming, Westchester's Ridge Hill is the ideal environment for shopping, dining, strolling, lounging and enjoying. A captivating village green sets the stage for evening entertainment. Comfortable outdoor furniture and lively fountains offer a sense of both engagement and tranquility to nurture the spirit and prolong the visit.

Westchester's Ridge Hill has an eclectic mix of specialty boutiques, national retailers, tempting restaurants and engaging entertainment venues. Charming architecture and inviting amenities add to the anticipation of an exciting shopping experience.

My favorite spot was the kids playground designed like a cartoon character conveniently located by the Cheesecake factory. There are benches around the area for moms to sit and sip coffee while the kids enjoy.

For more info visit http://westchestersridgehill.com/

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dana's Kids gives advice about New Years Resolutions

Resolutions for the New Year are often made and easily forgotten.  When we set manageable goals, we’re more likely to stick with our resolutions.  Check out our friends at Dana’s Kids they believe that empowered parents create happy families.  With that in mind, check out founder of Dana’s Kids Dana Rosenbloom’s top 3 realistic parenting tips for starting the year off right (and keeping it that way)!

  1. Consistency-Children whose parents and caregivers are consistent have an easier time internalizing and following the rules.  They tantrum less and make better choices.  Talk to your partner and your child’s caregivers to make sure you are on the same page. 
  2. Compliments-This year use specific praise.  Tell your child exactly what is was that you are complimenting.  Remember to encourage your children to be proud of their own accomplishments as well.  For example, “You put on your shoes and coat all by yourself today.  Great job.  You must feel so proud!” 
  3. Quality time-Do your best to set aside, even 10 minutes, of uninterrupted interaction with your children. Talk, play, eat, hug, but most importantly, connect! A wise woman once told me: “Listen to a child and make sure you understand them as if you were going to be tested on it later.” What could be better, for both of you, than knowing your child in this way? I promise, it will make you both feel terrific! 

Dana Rosenbloom has a master’s degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention and has been working with children and families for over 10 years. Dana’s Kids provides parent education, play therapy, special education services, parent workshops and support groups, and professional development. To learn more about Dana and Dana’s Kids please visit www.DanasKids.com.  You can also follow Dana on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DanasKids1 and Twitter: @DJRkids 

empowered parents, happy families.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Big City Moms, always supporting LLD, invited us to their Sleep Experts Lunch to speak about the importance of communicating bedtime routines to your sitter. Here are a few important tips!

1. Give your sitter a tour of your home. Show your sitter the kids rooms, point out dangerous areas you want the kids to stay away from and give specific instructions on how things work.

2. Bedtime Rules. Talk to your sitter about your bedtime routine with the kids i.e. What time do you begin to wind down the night? What is your child's favorite story and/or bedtime song? What time should they be asleep by?

3. Special Instructions.  Are there any special rules you have? Do your kids have any allergies the sitter should know about? Are the kids sick and need medicine?

4. Exchange Contact Info. Be sure to leave your sitter with your cell phone and an emergency contact numbers. Be sure to get her cell phone number so that you can text her throughout the night if you have any questions or to check in.

5. Anything else? Sitters are happy to lend a helping hand. If you'd like them to unload the dishwasher or change the laundry most sitters won't mind. Especially once they have been at your home a few times and you feel connected to them. They will be happy to help! 

I stayed to listen to Kira Ryan, mom, sleep lover and co-founder of Dream Team, speak about her infant & toddler sleep tips.Here are a few!

·         Newborns should get 15-18 hours of sleep per day (24hrs)
·         A good bedtime for an infant is between 6-8pm
·         Signs of a sleepy infant: the cry is different, no engagement or eye contact, fussy
·          What is normal?
o   Up to 6 mo infants take naps every 1 ½ -2 hours
o   At 6mo infants usually take 2 naps per day
o   15-18 mo 1 long nap in the afternoon
o   Naps or ‘quiet time’ is recommended up to 3-4 years
·         White noise machines are great especially for city noise
·         Crib should be a sleep sanctuary, anything that screams party or playground should be removed
·         Check the nursery temperature! It should be between 68-72 F.
·         Is the room dark enough? Get blackout shades!

For more info on Dream Team click here or more info on Big City Mom events click here.