Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving 2014Happy Thanksgiving, mamas! We’re so thankful for the opportunity to get to know other moms in Northwest Arkansas through the community created here on nwaMotherlode.com.

Thank you for taking the time to visit the site and join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and our email newsletter. We hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and family. And for those of you on the road this holiday, we wish you safe travel.

Baby Gear and Gadgets: Gift ideas for 1-year-olds

By Liz Emis, mama to Jack and another on the way

jack emis, big brother shirtJack just celebrated his first birthday! (And we announced baby #2!)

I can’t believe we made it through the first year. Moms you know: the first birthday is just as much a milestone and recognition of your accomplishments as it is a celebration of the toddler you’ve helped develop.

Our son got overloaded with love that day and also overloaded with presents. In light of holiday shopping coming up, here are a couple of gifts I highly recommend, especially if your child, like mine, enjoys figuring things out.

You can almost see the wheels turning in his head!

An Activity Cube:
We like vintage toys that teach in addition to entertain, and this gift has it all. It’s tall enough that your one-year-old can stand to play with it, its four sides have musical elements and abacus-like activities for learning colors, shapes and numbers, and it also has a matching game for animals. The top usually has a colorful winding wires that pass through a wooden town and allow your child to move cars and shapes through them. We bought ours at Once Upon A Child in Rogers for about $30, but you can find them brand new on Amazon between $40 and $100.

learning cube

Melissa & Doug:
farm puzzleThis is a toy brand you can easily find at Target, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning and Amazon. They promote classic toys from our childhood, and just like our family, believe more classic toys allow the child to use even greater imagination.

Jack received several puzzles by Melissa & Doug and they all teach new concepts. Each puzzle piece is either very thick or has a big knob on it, allowing your toddler to easily remove it. There is a picture of the puzzle piece underneath on the wooden board, so Jack could learn new concepts through matching the picture to the piece. They come in themes like colors, shapes, vehicles, animals and so on.

Jack’s favorite is the farm themed puzzle he received from a close friend of ours. These puzzles cost about $12 to $15 retail.

Melissa & Doug also offers “make your own sandwich” kits, clocks for learning to tell time and coloring books.

sandwich

I hope this helps in your holiday shopping plans. Enjoy the season!

What We’re Reading: Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile

Facebook shareHappy Friday, mamas!

It’s cold and might even snow this weekend, so it’s a good time to cozy up with a fun book by the fire. And we’ve got a great recommendation for you because Gwen’s book, Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile, is on an Amazon special promotion right now which means you can get the e-book version for 99 cents. (That deal will be over by the 20th so grab it while you can.)

You can also give the e-book to a friend (and even schedule the day it arrives in their inbox) so this would be a great way to give a few holiday gifts without rockwood files photo logospending too much money.

In addition to being the co-founder of nwaMotherlode.com, Gwen is also a syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about marriage, motherhood, kids, pets and more, and this book is a collection of columns that her newspaper readers have loved most over the past 18 years.

Click HERE to see read the reviews posted by Amazon readers, and get the e-book version for yourself or a friend. Stay warm this weekend, and Happy Reading!

Parenting Manners Matter, Too

manners sliderAs moms, we all know it’s important to teach our kids good manners, but it’s just as important that we, as parents, use great manners ourselves. We’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we need a little brush-up on good parenting manners.

We discussed issues with manners recently during the Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio show, which airs weekdays at 7:45 a.m.

Click the left arrow on each audio bar below to hear the segments on parenting manners.

On school car line etiquette

On personal questions

On sharing unsolicited opinions

On smartphone etiquette

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