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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
RECALL: 5,500 Pacific Cycle Swing Sets Due to Fall Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Pacific Cycle Inc, today announced a voluntary recall of about 5,500 Playsafe Dartmouth Swing Sets because the sling-style swing seats can crack or split prematurely, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

Pacific Cycle has received five reports of the sling-style swing seats breaking during use, including reports of minor injuries involving bruises and scrapes.

This recall involves Playsafe’s Dartmouth Swing Set, model number 22-PS340, with date codes FSD0115AA and FSD0315AA. The model number and date code can be found in the owner’s manual. The swing set has six metal legs and includes two swings with yellow plastic sling-style seats, a yellow plastic sliding board, a two-person glider with yellow plastic seats, yellow plastic trapeze hanging rings and a four-person lawn swing with yellow plastic seats and footboard.

The sets were sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores nationwide from January 2011 through May 2011 for about $270.

Consumers should immediately stop using the sling-style swing seats, remove the seats from the swing set and contact Pacific Cycle to obtain free replacement seats.

For additional information, contact Pacific Cycle toll-free at (877) 564-2261 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.pacific-cycle.com or email customerservice@pacific-cycle.com
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Celebrities Design Maternity Denim To Benefit March of Dimes

Celebrity trendsetters and Hollywood moms have teamed up to create unique maternity jeans to be auctioned of to benefit the March of Dimes.

Celebrity moms Laila Ali, Heidi Klum, Naomi Watts, Jewel, Nicole Sullivan, Diane Farr, Camila Alves, Busy Philipps, and Kaitlin Olson each have embellished a pair of designer maternity denim as part of an online auction, “Celebrities 4 Maternity Denim.” The auction is an initiative between the March of Dimes and Destination Maternity to raise awareness about the importance of preventing preterm birth so more babies can get a healthy start in life.

The denim will be auctioned off to the public from August 25 to September 22 on www.biddingforgood.com/celebs4maternitydenim. Bidding will begin at $300 per pair of jeans. All of the proceeds will support March of Dimes work to help moms have full-term pregnancies and stronger, healthier babies.
“Now moms can be even more stunning in one-of-a-kind jeans, personally designed by their favorite celebrity icon,” said Jane Massey, Executive Vice President of the March of Dimes. “We are thrilled to work with Destination Maternity and these generous celebrity moms to connect with moms and give them the information they need to have full-term pregnancies and healthier babies.”
New and expectant moms and their guests are invited to Destination Maternity’s Fashion’s Night Out celebration hosted by Laila Ali, to see the denim on display. Fashion’s Night Out will be held at Destination Maternity’s flagship store, 28 East 57th Street at Madison Avenue in New York City, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8th. Guests can bid online from the store that evening.
“We are proud to partner with the March of Dimes on this initiative,” said Ed Krell, Chief Executive Officer of Destination Maternity. “This auction makes a strong statement of support for a cause Destination Maternity believes in and has supported for many years.”
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The Rossdales Hit The Beach!
Gwen Stefani and husband Gavin Rossdale enjoyed a beautiful California day at the beach with their children, Kingston and Zuma, in Malibu yesterday.

The boys had a blast working together with their dad to make a sand castle and running around playing in the surf.

Gwen has been one busy mama.  She has so much on her plate right now that she may not even be able to attend the showing for her LAMB collection in New York City next month.
Her spokesperson said.‘Given the extraordinary demands of working on three fashion lines while also finishing a new record, it is hard to say whether she will be able to attend the actual presentation in New York next month.’
One thing is for sure.  No Doubt fans are excited the band is back in the studio.  It will be their first album in 8 years.


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Monday, August 29, 2011
Sofia Coppola & Her Family Enjoy A Pre-Wedding Play At The Beach
Rather than run around tying up loose ends, Sofia Coppola and her family spent a relaxing afternoon on the beach in Basilicata, Italy, the day before her wedding.

The director was photographed playing with the water with her youngest daughter Cosmina while her oldest daughter Romy built sandcastles.

Sofia and Thomas were married during an intimate ceremony yesterday in the palatial garden at her father’s grand palazzo in the village.

The star-studded affair was attended by 80 guests including Johnny Depp, Star Wars creator George Lucas and her Rocky actress aunt Talia Shire.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011
Celebrity Families Attend Lion King 3D Premiere
The hot ticket in Hollywood this afternoon was the premiere of Disney’s Lion King 3D. The updated version of the 1994 animated classic will hit theatres on September 16th in a limited re-release for two weeks before the Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D hit stores on October 4th.

Some of the celebrity families in attendance were:
  • Ali Landry and daughter Estela
  • Melissa Joan Hart & husband Mark with sons Mason and Braydon Wilkerson
  • Rick Schroder with his wife Andrea Bernard and their 4 kids Holden, Luke, Cambrie and Faith
  • Julie Bowen with her son
  • Antonio Sabato Jr. and daughter Mina Bree
  • Monet Mazur with her son Marlon
  • Gilles Marini with his wife Carole and daughter Julianna,
  • Shaunie O’Neil with daughter Mimi
  • Maria Canals- Barrera with husband David and daughters Bridget and Madeleine


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Thursday, August 25, 2011
Rachel Stevens Strolls With Amelie
Former S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens was photographed yesterday shopping at the local shops in London with her daughter Amelie.

After having becoming a mom Rachel revealed she ‘would love to have more’ children and that she can’t now imagine her life before Amelie.
‘It is literally like Christmas every morning!  I remember my brother saying the same thing.’
‘He has got two little girls, and I remember him saying that before I had Amelie.
‘It really is, when you see them for the first time in the morning, she wakes up and I hear her chatting away and she is singing away and its lovely!’
A barefoot Amelie rode in a pink bugaboo bee special edition stroller.

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Heart Defect Screening Strategy for Newborns in Development
Pediatric and cardiac experts recently developed a strategy for routine heart screenings on all newborns to help improve the detection of congenital heart disease and hopefully reduce infant mortality rates. Through a non-invasive procedure known as pulse oximetry, nursing staff and hospital physicians will be able to better identify potentially fatal but treatable heart conditions; a health condition that claims more lives before the age of one than any other birth defect.

“One percent of all newborns have congenital heart disease and about one quarter have critical heart defects which require early intervention,” study lead author Dr. Alex R. Kemper and associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University in Durham, N.C. stated. “If they’re not picked up in a timely way then the baby can even die.” Early intervention seems to be the key and early intervention is what the panel hopes to achieve with the new testing strategy.

Testing will be done before the infant leaves the hospital but not on the first day of life. It is hoped that, by delaying the testing until the second day, hospitals can reduce the number of false positives – a situation that would surely leave most parents worried and stressed.

Proper algorithms for avoiding false positives will also be important for hospital budgets, which may affect whether or not a hospital is receptive to the new testing, especially since acceptance of the testing strategy will be left up to individual facilities.
“Clearly there are still issues that need to be clarified before most hospitals would start doing this. The first is that if the screening picks up an indication of a heart defect then the next step is the baby will need to get an echocardiogram, which is a scan of the heart. And a lot of hospitals just don’t have that equipment. So some babies will need to be transferred to other hospitals for that.”
While budget issues may deter hospitals when deciding whether or not to adopt the strategy, the truth is that this may be the single, most effective way to reduce infant deaths related to congenital heart defects. Children with congenital heart defects look no different than any other infant and many cases go unnoticed.

“It’s hard to identify them. And that is also true even when women get mid-pregnancy ultrasounds. Some cases are picked up but it can be very easy to miss a baby with a life-threatening congenital heart situation,” Kemper stated. It’s not until the infant starts to display symptoms that anyone knows something is wrong. By then, the condition is often fatal and untreatable.

I would hope that all hospitals consider the alternative before shooting down the new strategy. While there may be a few bugs to work out, I would rather be scared out of my mind and have nothing be wrong with my child than to miss it during a time it is treatable, only to find out that it’s too late.

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Kid Tested: Little Tikes Grillin’ Grand Kitchen
Whether you are a parent of a little girl or a little boy one of the most popular purchases you can make is a play kitchen.  When I take my son to daycare the very first thing he does every day is run over to the toy kitchen pick out some pots or pans and a few toy food items and brings them back to me – he just loves it!  They are a great way to encourage imaginative play while also being hours of fun.  If you’re looking for a great kitchen look no further than Little Tikes Grillin’ Grand Kitchen!

The Grillin’ Grand Kitchen has a number of really great features like a pretend microwave, oven, dishwasher and coffee maker, refrigerator and BBQ.
When I first told my husband that we needed to get a toy kitchen for our son he thought I was crazy.   In his mind toy kitchens were made for girls rather than boys.   The selling point, however, was the BBQ!  My husband is in charge of the grill in our house and because of the added BBQ feature he couldn’t wait to see our son flipping burgers and hotdogs on his own little grill.

Out of the box the Kitchen is pretty easy to put together – to be honest it was much easier than I had expected.  Looking at all the parts and the instructions I braced myself for a long, painful assembly.  Surprising it wasn’t that hard to put together.  I did the assembly by myself, and while I think it would be quicker if you had another set of hands to help you along, it certainly can be a one man job if you don’t have them.  The instructions suggest having an electric drill on hand and I’d recommend that you do that as well – some of the screws are quite long and could take you a while (and put your arms to the test) if you were to screw them all in by hand.  Overall the structure assembly is pretty simple and took me a little over an hour to complete.  One thing to note – the decals are not on the kitchen out of the box, and you’ll need to stick them on yourself – for the average person this should be an easy task, however for me it was a little bit of a challenge because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and tried very hard to ensure that each one was put perfectly in place.

The first time my son saw the kitchen he was sooooo excited!  He ran right over to it and started exploring all the various pieces.  To this day we spend much of our time playing in the kitchen – he loves that the stove and grill make fun realistic noises and I love that he’s learning while he plays.
Another neat feature on the kitchen is that the refrigerator features an ice dispenser.  I personally love this and also love the little ice cubes that come with the set (although I wish they were single cubes rather than double) so that they’d fall from the dispenser more easily.

The set comes with 31 accessories – from fry pans, dishes and utensils to corn on the cob, a burger and hot dog with buns.  My son is still pretty young and the accessories include seem to be enough to keep him occupied, however I’d also recommend that you pick of a few additional food items that they can play with – perhaps the Backyard Barbeque Backyard Picnic or the Backyard Barbeque Summer Fruit and Veggies.

One of the things that parents worry about with toy kitchens is storage for all of the accessories.  Thankfully the Grillin’ Grand features a ton of storage space from the cupboards and under the BBQ, to the fridge, stove and dishwasher – plus the set comes with two little baskets for storage that fit perfectly into the storage cubes under the stove.

This kitchen also has a multi-level counter top that has a pass through to the other side of the kitchen allowing children to really pretend that they are serving a meal to each other.  The kitchen it’s self is large enough for multiple children to play at the same time – one can be cooking on the stove or in the microwave and another could be using the BBQ.

The Grillin’ Grand Kitchen is excellent value; at only $159.99 it is very comparable to much more expensive kitchens on the market.  It’s been a huge hit in my house and I’m sure it will be in yours.
  • Excellent quality and durability
  • Very attractive
  • Features a wide variety of activities
  • Easy to assemble
Wish List
  • Pre-assembled decals
  • Smaller ice cubes to allow for easier flow through ice maker
  • Sound effects on the Microwave
  • Oven & Dishwasher rack
Thank you Little Tikes for sending us the Grillin’ Grand Kitchen!

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Monday, August 22, 2011
Jennifer Garner Pregnant With Baby #3!

Exciting news for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner!  It was revealed today that the celebrity couple is expecting their third child.

In just a one sentence statement to the AP, Jen and Ben said they are “thrilled” to have another baby on the way.

The news of the pregnancy couldn’t come at a better time.  Jen recently wrapped the majority of filming for The Odd Life of Timothy Green in Atlanta, Georgia, and she has also finished shooting Butter, in which she stars alongside Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, and Alicia Silverstone.

The new baby will join the couple’s two children – Seraphina, 2 and Violet, 5.

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Kimberly Stewart Welcomes A Baby Girl!
Congratulations to new parents Benicio del Toro and Kimberly Stewart. The model and daughter of singer Rod Stewart welcomed a baby girl this morning in Los Angeles.

The baby, who has yet to be named, weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs 9 oz and is 22 inches long.

In April it was revealed that Kimberly was expecting her first child with actor Benicio del Toro.

At that time Benicio’s rep, Robin Baum, confirmed the news saying,
“Kimberly is pregnant. Benicio is the father and is very supportive. Although they are not a couple, they are looking forward to the arrival of the baby.”
US Magazine reports that Rod, 66, and his current wife Penny Lancaster-Stewart were at the hospital during Kimberly’s delivery as was Alana Collins, who is Kimberly’s mother and Rod’s first wife.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011
Rebecca Romijn Totes Her Twins
Rebecca Romijn was photographed taking her adorable twin daughters, Dolly and Charlie, to a party in Hollywood.

The girls were cute in matching dresses.

Rebecca has been busy.  She recently finished up the Tyler Perry flick Good Deeds and is currently filming Mommy’s Little Girl, a Lifetime network movie which will air on Showcase Action.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Back To School ~ Our Top Lunchbox Picks!
One of the biggest things that moms struggle with during the school year is lunches. Figuring out what to send, how to get it there and how you can make sure it's still edible when lunchtime rolls around.

As we work to pack zero waste lunches, there are quite a few companies helping us out with some great compartment style lunch boxes.  Also known as bento style lunch boxes, these sets are perfect for kids who like variety and those who don't want their food to touch.

  1. Kids Conserve($36) - This kit is an eco-friendly  version of the old fashioned brown bag.  You can use it for packing school lunches, picnics or on-the-go snacks. Use the entire kit or the individual components in your existing lunch boxes. Lunch kit includes recycled cotton sack, cloth napkin, 304 (18/8) food-grade stainless steel beverage bottle, food kozy, two 8-ounce 304 (18/8) food-grade leak-proof stainless steel containers, and a recycled aluminum name tag.
  2. Goodbyn ($17 & $26)- Available in 2 sizes for pre-schoolers and older kids, the Goodbyn utilizes different compartments to keep kids’ lunches from spilling, sloshing or mixing.  Made entirely of FDA-approved materials, the Goodbyn lunchbox is dishwasher-safe and made to last. And when it’s time for a new one, the Goodbyn lunchbox is 100 percent recyclable.
  3. Yubo ($30) - this easy to use lunchbox is both customizable and easy to use.  It is BPA-free, phthalate-free, and lead-free and 100% dishwasher safe (excluding faceplates). Deluxe model comes with includes containers & ice pack. Plus, when your children are done with it - it's 100% recyclable!
  1. Laptop Lunches($40) - This lunchbox comes with 5 Inner Containers: two large inner containers = 1-1/4-cup and 1-2/3-cup (one with lid), two small inner containers = 3/4-cup and 2/3-cup (one with lid), one- 1/8-cup dip container (with lid).  The carry bag has built-in velcro mesh pouch for ice pack (not included), front expandable pocket for additional items, and a side mesh pocket to fit a drink bottle.  The containers are microwave safe (not lids) and dishwasher safe (top rack) The set is free of PVC, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and  lead.
  2. Lunchsense lunchbox ($35 - 50) - Available in 3 sizes, this system will not only keep your child's lunch organized, but it folds out to be a placemat as well!  The smaller kit, which is about the size of a small paper bag, comes with two separate, removable trays that hold about 5 ounces each, one 1 ounce container, one 8 ounce drink bottle, and one ice pack.
  3. Oots Lunchbox ($35)- This contemporary lunch box features a stacked design that prevents food from being tossed around.  Cleaning is easy and the use of space is optimal with custom containers that comfortably fit inside. Plus, the lid of the Lunchbox is shaped to keep a water bottle in place, under an elastic strap.
  4. Planetbox Lunch Kit ($35 - $50)- Planetbox' stainless steel lunch boxes are perfect for kids of all ages.  They have made a kit that caters to the one child that likes variety and surprises, and the other that likes the familiarity of that same PB&J sandwich every day.   Also available is a carry case and magnets to customize.
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Sarah Jessica Parker Talks Parenting and Marriage With Parade
In an exclusive interview with Parade, actress Sarah Jessica Parker reveals some of the intimacies of her family life including her life as a mother and her marriage to actor Matthew Broderick. I personally found this side of Sarah Jessica Parker both refreshing and down-to-earth.

Sarah and Matthew have been married almost 20 years now. During that time, the actress reveals that the two have learned new appreciations – Sarah learning to appreciate things like baseball, color and parmesan cheese from her husband and Matthew learning to appreciate ballet, thanks to Sarah. Something else the two share – three wonderful children - fraternal twins Tabitha and Loretta, now 2 and James Wilkie, now 8.

James Wilkie says he wants to be an actor and is anxious to get started. Sarah feels that he should wait until after college but she also tells Parade, “Part of me thinks maybe it’s better if he knows the truth now about how hard it is to be a working actor. I don’t know that he grasps what it took us to get here.”

The twins, she says, are “talking, they’re running, they need me. Loretta is deeply inquisitive…. She constantly checks that we are connecting with her.” Deemed the princess of the family, “Tabitha does not give; she receives.”

When asked about the struggles of holding down a successful acting career and parenting three children, Sarah told Parade, “We’ve had two occasions recently where both Matthew and I were working and it was so hard on the kids, especially James Wilke because he can really articulate how he feels about our absence. On the other hand, there are big chunks of time when we’re home a lot more than conventionally working parents so you hope to make up for it.”

What I found most refreshing about the interview was she and Matthew’s perspective on outside help when it comes to the kids. When asked if they have live-in help, Sarah revealed that they do not. They hire someone to watch the children, when it is needed, but that’s as far as it goes for this celebrity family. “We love closing the door and having the only people in the house be our three children and us. It’s such a good feeling to know that we’re competent and capable and that it’s private.”

It’s nice to see that Sarah and her family aren’t much different than you and I, something I think we too often forget when it comes to celebrities. Just like us, she is working hard to balance a marriage, a career and mommy-hood.

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Jennifer Garner Spends The Afternoon With Her American Girls!
Jennifer Garner was spotted yesterday afternoon treating her girls to new stuff at American Girl.

The actress, who is currently filming The Odd Life of Timothy Green, kept Seraphina close while 5-year-old Violet walked with a friend.

Violet wears a pair of pediped Abigal shoes and Seraphina sports some sparkly Liza shoes from Stride Rite.

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ADHD Rates on the Rise in the U.S.?
 A recent study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 1 out of every 10 children are diagnosed with ADHD in the United States– a rise of about 2 percent from just a decade ago. Considering the special needs of children with ADHD, this means more issues for both schools and health care. The real question is, are rates really on the rise or is there something influencing the numbers?

ADHD, attention deficit hyperactive disorder is considered the most common behavioral disorder in children, according to the National Institutes of Health. Symptoms include an inability to focus or pay attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, just to name a few.

Researchers aren’t so sure that the higher numbers actually reflect an increase in the number of children with ADHD. They believe that factors like better testing, increased awareness and more tools for both parents and physicians could be the cause of the increase in the number of ADHD cases.

“We don’t have the data to say for certain what explains these patterns, but I would caution against concluding that what we have here is a real increase in the occurrence of this condition,” said Dr. Lara J. Akinbami, study author and medical officer with the National Center for Health Statistics. Akinbami also mentioned that the ‘increase’ could also have something to do with the fact that health care is available to a wider range of children.

What really makes the increase in ADHD cases a concern is the impact it will have on both the school system and the health care system. According to Akinbami, “Children of ADHD use a lot more health care dollars than their peers, because the condition itself requires a lot of monitoring. They are also much more likely to have other chronic health care conditions, such as asthma or learning disabilities or conduct diagnoses like conduct disorder, which makes managing them for schools and physicians and parents much more difficult. So, it’s clearly something for public policy experts to be concerned about.”

I have my own issues and concerns about ADHD and the ‘rising numbers.’ Too many hours sitting in at a desk, decreased play time in schools and a society that is run on sugar, preservatives and processed foods could be making a large contribution to the condition. I am not saying that ADHD doesn’t really exist or that many children diagnosed don’t have ADHD. Based on my own experiences, however, I believe that there may be more to the ADHD numbers than meets the eye.

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Padma Lakshmi Lunches With Her Little Lady!
Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo’s reality show Top Chef, was spotted out for a bite with her daughter Krishna in New York City on Friday.

The pair, who matched in purple, lunched with a friend before heading out to do some shopping.

It's been some time since we've seen Krishna. She looked adorable with her gladiators shoes on and her hair in pigtales!

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Friday, August 19, 2011
Elton John & David Furnish Set Sail With Zachary!
Oh what a life! Two weeks after they were spotted vacationing with actor Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John and David Furnish are still hanging out in St. Tropez with son Zachary.

This time the proud daddies are showing David's parents Jack and Gladys Furnish, as well as his brothers John and Peter, around the South of France.

Taking a few days off, Elton flew back to the U.S. last week to perform at financier Leon D. Black 60th Birthday. The pop music legend, who closed with “Crocodile Rock,” was paid a rumoured $1 million for the hour-and-a-half performance.

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Infantino To Introduce New Kimono Carrier & Comforting Play Collection
A couple weeks ago while in San Diego attending BlogHer I was invited to preview some new products that Infantino and Step2 will be introducing this Fall.

My favorite product, the Infantino Kimono Easy Wrap Carrier, offers all the benefits of wrap style carrying with the security of an easy snap lumbar belt. Moms will also have their choice of four carrying positions; front carry with the pouch for infants, front carry for older babies, hip carry and back carry. When it hits store it will retail for just $40.

Also set to hit stores will be the Comforting Play Collection, a line of infant toys and the Right Angle Tummy Triangle, a unique positioner to help with tummy time.

Here are a few photos from my beautiful afternoon on Coronado Island complete with the beautiful view and a shot of the candy bar!

*This post is part of a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Infantino and Step2.*

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