Plan a Happy Surprise on Mother’s Day

For several years, millions of people across the globe have made Mother’s Day a day to prepare a happy surprise for the loving women in their lives. The roots of this very special day can be traced to ancient Greek and Roman times but the theme began to catch on in the UK where Mothering Sunday was celebrated long before the day became an official holiday in the United States. Julia Ward Howard and Anna Jarvis are credited with pushing to make Mother’s Day an official holiday in the U.S. Now more than 40 countries around the world share this special day in honor of the women who bring life into the world.
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Splish, Splash, We’re Taking a Bath

What is it about bath time that makes it so much fun for kids? Sure, having prune fingers is entertaining, but there has to be more. Is it the echo of your voice in the bathroom? The relaxing nature of warm water? The chance to splash around and make a mess (that for parents is a lot easier to clean up than splashing around in mud puddles)? The wonderful opportunities for creative play, cause and effect, and imagination? Actually, does it really matter? This week we had a chance to review a number of bath toys that can keep bath time fun for everyone—even when it’s time for the dreaded washing and shampooing part. We loved ‘em and we’re sure you will too.

splish & splashB. Fish & Splish Boat (B. Toys)
Take two handfuls of colorful, durable water toys, put them in a boat, and you’ve got hours of fun. The Fish & Splish Boat includes nesting cups, the captain, a life preserver, a fishing hook (no, not a real one, of course) and four easy-to-catch fish—all of which stow away neatly inside the boat. There’s even a comb and nail brush (cleverly disguised as an innocent-looking octopus and a smiling whale) so mom and dad can sneak a little hygiene into the bathing experience. Ages eight months to three years. Retails for about $31.00 at Amazon.

wiggly wind-upsWiggly Wind-Ups (B. Toys)
If there’s one place where electronics don’t belong, it’s the bathtub. And the folks at B. Toys have graciously obliged, coming up with some delightfully old-school toys. All you do is wind ‘em up, let them loose and the paddle their way around the tub, leaving nothing but waves and giggling children behind. There’s a gorilla in a canoe, a giraffe with swim fins, and a masked blue super dog. Unfortunately, the Wiggly Wind-Ups are a little hard to find, but well worth the trouble.

Surfing in the Tub
Magnetic Ducks in the Tub (Alex Toys)

bubbalookaIf you’re looking for a way to keep your little one(s) in the tub a bit longer, Bubbalooka is your answer. With Bubbalooka, kids (and we’re sure plenty of parents) can blow incredibly long, fluffy bubble snakes. The complete kit comes with a bubble horn, a bottle of bubble solution, and a suction cup holder so the bottle won’t spill into the tub.  Can be used in the tub or anywhere else, for that matter. Recommended for kids two years old and up. Retails for $11.95 on the company’s website (, or you can pick it up wherever you buy your toys.

surfing in the tubThe Surfing in the Tub kit is another bath time extender—one that’s designed to make washing a little less unattractive. Snap the monkey onto one of two foam surfboards and take him on his very own wave-riding adventure. Oh, and did we mention that the money also squirts? For ages two and up. But it for $11.95 on Alex Toys’ website—a bit more on Amazon.


magnetic ducksMagnetic Ducks in the Tub are exactly what you’d expect from the name: three colorful, soft, vinyl ducks—theoretically a mommy duck and her chicks, but it could just as well be a dad or family friend—that click together magnetically. Good, clean, old fashioned, fun.  Safe for ages two and up. Retails for $16.95.


Watch Out, Baby!

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I both work and we have our 2-year old daughter in a lovely home daycare. We really like the provider—she makes organic food for all the kids she takes care of, and does a lot of fun activities with them. But we recently found out that she also has the kids in front of the TV or playing video games for several hours every day. It’s so hard to find good-quality, affordable childcare these days, plus our baby really loves her caregiver. How bad is it for toddlers to watch a little TV?

A: Unfortunately, the whole issue of babies and TV is far from being black and white. The official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that kids under two should have as close to zero time in front of screens as possible, and kids older than two should limit screen entertainment to an hour or two per day (not including time on computers that are being used for homework, of course). The point is that children should spend a lot more of their time interacting with other people than with electronics.

In an ideal world—where most of us don’t happen to live—that’s definitely the right approach. But we all have situations that call for a little rule bending, and an hour of TV while you’re taking a shower or making a phone call probably won’t cause any long-term damage. And neither will the parental magic trick most of us perform when trying to tame loud or restless kids: pulling out the tablet or smartphone and putting it gently into those little hands.
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Do You Know Your Numbers? Why Blood Pressure is Important to Your Well-Being

Author: The Measure Up/Pressure Down © Campaign

high blood pressure2The next time you’re sitting in the bleachers at a sporting event or in a pew at church, take a look around. Odds are that someone sitting next to you – or you – has high blood pressure.

Nearly one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, also called hypertension by medical professionals.

May marks National High Blood Pressure Education Month – a time for raising awareness about the disease and encouraging men and women to get in control. [Read more...]

Holiday Tips with Unexpected Foods to Help You Lose Weight

With the holidays in motion, it’s no secret that losing weight will be easy; in fact, it can be downright frustrating.  Contrary to popular belief, weight loss is not just about exercising furiously or eating a diet of solely fruits and vegetables.  Whether it’s because they speed up your metabolism or because they keep you feeling full, there are some foods that can help you lose weight, despite not being considered “healthy.” [Read more...]