Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eco Diaper Dilemma

Early this morning, while Lukas was still asleep, I searched the web for some eco-friendly diaper options for Lukas. I enjoy learning about new products that could potentially make my life easier.

The majority of eco-friendly diapers are still made of cloth, which can be very cumbersome when you don't have much time to spare. I actually found a website in Canada that provides classes for cloth diaper management! It never ceases to amaze me how creative people can get to make money!

we're not ready yet for cloth diapers, but I do feel very guilty about using regular disposable ones, sending all this plastic to the landfill. In the last few months we’ve been trying the G Diaper. It is a very interesting concept, a mix of “green” disposable pad attached to cloth panties.

Basically the starter kit comes with a couple of cloth panties that can be alternated, disposing only the pads. Overall it is a good product, but unfortunately the design has yet to be improved. It leaks a lot, resulting in extra loads of laundry to wash sheets, PJs and pants, defeating the eco-friendly purpose!

Here is the link to gdiapers for more information, if you are interested.http://www.gdiapers.com/

For now, we use the product during the day, only when we know for sure that #2 is not happening within the next couple of hours!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kids are Bored? Golden Opportunity....

Some parents are always trying to keep their kids overloaded with stimulation to avoid boredom. Well, the truth is, some of them just need time for themselves, and keeping the kids busy is their way to go. I really can't blame them for that, what parent doesn't need some free time?

The point is, boredom is a golden opportunity to coach kids to develop creativity. Helping them learn how to turn it into useful time is a great exercise for life. What teenager or adult wouldn't benefit from that skill?

Boredom is really a blank canvass, and it is in our hands to either build constructive roadblocks, or waist it with fillers.

I guess when our kids are older and able to understand words, we can simply challenge them by asking what they are going to do about their boredom. But with a toddler, hummm...not that easy. What I've been trying to do is either lead Lukas to some physical exercise or sit him down and show new things to do with old toys, like this old handmade doll. Hopefully I'm leading him to a creative and active lifestyle.

Whew, who said it was going to be easy?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baby Estimulation vs Mom's Frantic Schedule

Every parent knows the importance of stimulating kids' little brains. Their cognitive and personality development are a direct response to the level of positive stimulation they get, and obviously the parents and daycare providers are key.

I try to respond whenever I can to Lukas' attempts to communicate, usually by replying to his sounds, making eye contact, or showing a reaction. I think it helps him understand the flow of communication, and gives him a lot of self-confidence.
Videos are a BIG No No at home. The very few times he was exposed to a cartoon on TV, or The Muppet Show (which both my husband and I love to watch!), he got into a very passive mode. Lukas wouldn't even blink! At this stage in his life, working with toys and books that make him use his imagination and develop his creativity should be the main entertainment.

We have also exposed Lukas to a lot of interaction with other people and cultures. Even before his first birthday, Lukas' passport had already been stamped in Australia and Brazil, and within a couple of months we are crossing the Atlantic again. Contrary to many people's opinion, we thought that those trips would contribute to a future worldly attitude, turning him into a tolerant and flexible young man. Hopefully it will fire up a lifetime curiosity about other cultures.

Yes, it is all very difficult to manage with our crazy schedules. However, Lukas is our number one project and, in our point of view, daily positive reinforcements are the way to go for successful results.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Foodie Gadgets

Busy moms know how difficult it is to come up with healthy meals for their kids. Making them eat a variety of veggies, carbs, proteins and minerals is definitely a challenge. I've always been very committed with not only the quality of nutrients but also the development of Lukas' taste for great food! Being as international as we are, I want him to appreciate fine and simple ingredients. Trying new dishes and spices from different cultures is key!

Can you tell that I'm a foodie? Boy, I love great meals! The pleasant experience of going to farmers' markets in different countries tells me a lot about the country and the lifestyle. Coming from an Italian family made me very appreciative of the ritual of preparing and consuming meals..... I recall countless family events that evolved around the kitchen table!

I found that feeding my one year old organic homemade food meets my objectives. It is actually very easy. I freeze mashed veggies, chicken, fish, grains, etc in trays appropriate for food, they are similar to a covered ice tray. For each meal I defrost 4 or 5 different cubes, making sure the ideal nutritional combination is achieved.
It is a lot fresher than jar food, and the taste, a lot better!

Hand mixer and covered ice trays, another set of great tools for busy moms!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Smart Necessity

Have I mentioned how much I love my smart phone? It's been 5 years since I got my first Blackberry from a previous employer. As a Mompreneur, and someone addicted to the news, it has saved me a LOT of time.

Every day I feel the need to read at least 4 online news sites, including CNN, my favorite The NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Globo.com, a Brazilian news site.

As soon as I wake up, it is so easy to just click on that icon and read CNN headlines, then check pressing e-mails, logon to weather.com, and lastly get an update on my Facebook friends. Having moved so many times, friends are literally everywhere in the world.

My early morning Blackberry routine definitely takes the anxiety away from having to do many other things before connecting my laptop to the internet. Any mom knows that early morning is always busy trying to get kids fed, dressed and happy. And I also have Samba, my dog and adopted son, to take care of.
Oh, I almost forgot to add to the list feeding and dressing myself. Hahhh, so easy to forget amongst all other priorities....

Ok, now I can connect to the internet. I feel a real sense of pleasure! Time to slowly absorb The NY Times. This is such a great journal. Every column is a joy to read, from the content to the selection of words. A real piece of art.

Then, later on, I check the WSJ and Globo, to be a bit more worldly. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty for not reading a European site on a daily basis, but to solve that I subscribed to The Economist, the weekly printed version.

Anyway, without the portability of my Blackberry I wouldn't be able to squeeze all that into my daily routine. I have saved there a list of the great wines I've ever tasted, the groceries to buy next time I go to the store, the items to carry for our kid when we travel. I also have my 3 e-mail accounts and obviously can use it as a phone! Boy, what an spectacular gadget for moms!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

You've gotta get moving!

I hear so many people complaining about the lack of time to exercise. I just can't believe that anyone would ever wait for that moment in life when spare time is fully available to start being active. You have to make time, people!!

Exercising is incredibly important in life. Like brushing your teeth, it should be part of your routine, hopefully DAILY routine.

I remember when I was in college and also doing my internship at the same time, I would hit the gym at 5am. The following period of my life, when I was working full time and attending full time credits for my MBA. Boy, that was hell, but I exercised during my lunch break. Ok, I know I enjoy exercising, however my point is that if you are committed to a healthy lifestyle, you have no choice other than making time to exercise.

One important point is that exercising is like a relationship for life. You need to work on that, making sure it doesn't get boring, a burden! Do something that is pleasurable, fun, enjoyable! Have kids? Take that stroller out there and run or power walk with your kids. Can it get any more fun than that? That will teach your kids to enjoy being active too!
Get a pedometer and commit to 10,000 steps a day. It can't get any easier....

No excuses, please! ;)

Mompreneur's inpiration

I'm really trying to work hard this afternoon. Even though my cute son, and inspiration, is a few steps from me, sitting on the floor and playing with his favorite toys.
I'm lucky to have this big carpeted room, full of toys, a table and my laptop. This allows me to work from home, making me a real Mompreneur.

So, my first message will be a tribute to all Mompreneurs out there!

I've always been fascinated by how some home-based-business moms manage to build significant enterprises with such little time in their hands. During my long tenure working for Fortune 500 companies, I always thought that the freedom of working from home was a real deal.

Ok, it's hard to focus on a business plan with so many interruptions during the day; not only from kids but also from family members, sometimes inconsiderate of mompreneurs business hours ;)

What is the driver? How do they get there? While some are lucky, others are very determined to succeed. Not sure which one I fit in, but I know that it requires a lot of organization, discipline and persistence to juggle personal and professional tasks under the same roof. Immense self-motivation and intelligence definitely distinguish them from the crowd.

Many CEOs and VPs I've met during my career could definitely learn a lot from their Modus Operandi! Their ability to multitask is unprecedented, and their team-work skills, simply extraordinary!