Earnest Mom Local Spotlight: The Family Shop

The Family Shop is a new and exciting parenting retail store opening here in Erie, PA.  Created by Jeff and Kristyn Chiaramonte, their mission is to provide the best quality family care products and services at fair pricing to support families of all income levels. Every customer matters to them. Such a perfect name for their shop as they truly are family focused and family supportive, a community effort that is rarely felt in any big box store today.  They are trying to help the community not only by providing great products to families but also by supporting local “mommy makers/artisans” which will have Erie made products featured on their Vendor Wall.

The Family Shop will provide great new natural products focused on helping families. They will be offering  a variety of baby carriers/wraps, nursing/maternity apparel, cloth diapers, bamboo feeding tools, educational toys, teething products and more. The shop has a Mommy Corner, designed with nursing moms in mind, it is a quiet corner where mammas can nurse if baby gets hungry during shopping or change their bums without being distracted from the business of the hustle and bustle.  There is also an adorable kids spot that is a space designed specifically for little ones to play, with a huge open window  where kids remain in sight from across the store; moms and dads can shop while their little one plays, and can keep a good eye on them at the same time.

The Family Shop will have their grand opening starting Tuesday April 26, 2016 10 am lasting all week, they will give away free reusable “The Family Shop” totes on each in store purchase, while supplies last.  The shop’s regular hours of operation will be Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 am – 6 pm.  During the grand opening there will be large stamp pads available in an array of colors so the customers can use their hand prints to decorate the lower half of the store’s walls.  I earnestly love this idea and cannot wait until my littles are old enough to return and can pick out their own hands on the shop walls.  As the days lead up to the grand opening, stay tuned on Facebook where the shop has been featuring some fun reveals and keeping us updated with any news.

I am earnestly excited for this store to open, as an Erie resident and mama of two I can see the potential and need for this shop to be a great community support.  Kristyn and Jeff hope to start hosting learning programs from the shop to allow moms and dads a safe place to spend time, grow and learn, and allow children to socialize as well.  The shop is quaint, inviting and welcoming to all customers.  Whether you are curious about baby wearing, cloth diapers, looking to simply connect, or thinking about going bit greener in your home, this is the shop you want to stop by!

Contact The Family Shop at Yorktown Plaza
2501 W. 12th Street
Erie, PA 16505
814-616-6801
or Connect on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Eriefamilyshop
and Twitter:
@familyshoperie

Hope to see you at the Grand Opening!
x. em.

But I Don’t Like It! Earnest Mom Chats about Picky Eating.

If you don’t have one…you’re bound to one day encounter the ‘picky eater’ and when you do, your parental patience will be put to the test. As a recovered picky eater, I earnestly look for new ways to prevent or tackle this issue. I was recently a part of a Twitter Party discussion, hosted by Happy Family Brands and featuring the expertise of Dietician and food lover, Amy Marlow. Here are some tips that were featured during this chat, which have helped in the earnest household and I hope can help in yours.  Just remember that according to Ms. Marlow, picky eating is 50% biology and 50% experience.

1. Infancy is prime time for introducing a food, just be sure to never pressure baby to eat and look for signs of solid food readiness (such as showing interest in table food or mommy’s food, baby is willing to chew and baby no longer pushes food out of their mouth). Remember this is the best time to offer a variety of colors, flavors and textures!

2.  Don’t give up.  Most of us give up offering a refused food after three or four times and we decide that they do not like the food.  Food refusal can depend on many factors, temperature, mood of child and even the time of day.  Be sure to offer foods ten to fifteen times before deciding your child does not like it.  Just keep trying!

3.  Have children (toddler and older) assist in grocery shopping such as choosing fruits and vegetables, that way when they are home they will be more prone to eating the foods they have chosen.  If this method is successful maybe do a challenge of one new fruit or vegetable that the family tries together each week.  That way your child will be exposed to more flavors and textures (healthy ones if they are fruits or veggies), and mom and dad will be trying them too so it’s a communal effort from the whole family.

4.  If your child is showing tendencies toward being a picky eater, do not offer high sugar, high calorie and low nutrient options.  If you are going to offer alternatives stick to healthy ones.  It will be better and healthier for both parents and child in the long run.

5.  Have a rule at the dinner table, often times “I don’t like it” is heard before a child even tries their meal.  Make a rule that everyone must try one bite of everything on their plate before they decide they do not like it.  As hard as it may be, be patient during this process and support your child if they are at least trying the foods you are offering.

6.  Never do any of these:

  • Use foods as a reward, using sweets or other unhealthy treats as a reward for finishing dinner or eating something they do not care for can actually undermine the healthy examples that you are working so hard to have for your child.
  • Label your child a picky eater.  One hundred percent of the time, children who are told they are picky, will be picky.
  • Never hide vegetables in your food.  I mean, go ahead and disguise them or make them taste better, but never intentionally “trick” your child into eating something.  Even though they do not know that a food may be present in their food, be honest with your child, tell them what they are eating.  This approach allows children to recognize and appreciate the many forms and flavors that foods can bring to a variety of dishes.  On a whole, earnest mom would insist that we do not lie to our children.

Like I said, as a recovered picky child and I would earnestly urge parents to not give up! There are still some foods that I am just not a fan of (corn or peas on their own, oh and Jello) but I once read that our taste buds actually change all of the time.  So I am always willing to try, and we do the same with earnest boy (he has inherited my texture dislikes like Jello) and we get him to try foods he does not like about every month or so.  Slowly but surely his palette is growing quite rapidly.  So all you earnest moms and dads out there, be patient, set the example and help your children enjoy food!  Below I have also attached a great nutrition guide link from Happy Family Brands to help!

x.

earnest mom

Happy Family Nutrition Guides

I Screen. You Screen. An Earnest look at Sunscreen – plus an earnest give away!

With the summer’s sunny season quickly approaching I have been doing some earnest research on sun safety and our skin.  According to the American Cancer Society, people who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer – sunlight being a main source of UV rays.  If you have been burned once in your life, you may be at a greater risk of developing skin cancer; since our children are dependent on us – lets keep their skin safe.  Of course, this does not mean stay out of the sun completely but to follow basic sun safety.  Seek the shade on sunny days (you will still get UV exposure even in the shade), wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), cool long layers, and a hat.

When it comes to sunscreen, most of us buy one of the major brands like the one with the puppy pulling on the girls bathing suit or the one that smells like sunny vacations – hot and tropical, but I would earnestly encourage that we turn that bottle over and read what we are slopping on our skin in the heat of the day.  Remember, our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs all chemicals it comes into contact with instantly – which is directly absorbed into to our bloodstream.

The majority of big brand labels (non-mineral or organic based) sunscreen’s active UV filter ingredients are Oxybenzone, which acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women; Rentinyl Acetate, a synthetic vitamin A ingredient – the FDA has raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations; Octinoxate which creates hormone-like activity in the reproductive system, and linked to thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies.  These ingredients are among only some of the concerning ingredients (others are parabens and fragrances) that have been proven to attribute not only to hormone disruption, but have been found to be linked to cancer and skin allergies.  So – whoa, earnest information overload I know, and if you are interested in learning more I urge to you to do some of your own research, start with the Environmental Working Groups website article The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals, and from there check out their other links that are helpful and informative.

Okay, so now what?  Well there are sunscreens out there that are mineral based, which on the whole are much more safer for you than the ingredients already listed. When shopping for a safer sunscreen use the following criteria:

  1. Stay away from ALL aerosol spray screens – the inhalation factor raises too many concerns.
  2. Natural does not always mean safe – check ingredients and avoid the ones listed above.
  3. Stay with mineral based – look for the following ingredients Titanium DioxideZinc Oxide or Mexoryl SX.
  4. Avoid SPF higher than 50, there has been little evidence of the increased protection once the SPF has reached 50. (According the EWG – High-SPF products may give people a false sense of security, tempt them to stay in the sun too long, suppress sunburns but upping the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering limiting SPF claims to 50+, as is done in other countries.)
  5. NO tanning oils – the offer minimal sun protection and placing oil on your skin only magnifies the harmful rays we are trying to protect ourselves from.

If you are not in the mood for looking and researching all ingredients here are some of my favorite, low toxicity exposure sunscreens that I love (and will also be giving away).  For the earnest kiddos, I like BabyGanics, not only is it mineral based but is also friendly on the checkbook.  BabyGanics offers 2 cream based sunscreens (one in a tube, another in non-aerosol, pump spray form) both go on nicely and are fragrance free for sensitive skin, water resistant (80 minutes), tear free, hypoallergenic, and have NO PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.  BabyGanics can be found at Target, Babies R Us and other big box stores that have natural or organic sections.  For the whole earnest family I like The Honest Company‘s Sunscreen Lotion.  It is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, it is also a bit higher in cost.  If you are already a subscription holder you can get it at a discounted rate, and can also be found at Target stores.  This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, non-Nano, mineral-based, biodegradable, reef-friendly, water resistant (80 minutes)  and pH balanced.

For my everyday facial lotion, I am sure to use a face cream that contains SPF 20, I use UrbanOreganics Green Tea facial moisturizer (you can find my review of the item here).  This cream contains no harsh chemicals and leaves your skin feeling soft and well moisturized, without feeling greasy. It is thick, but not heavy, and will fully absorb into your skin in a matter of minutes. Perfect for all skin types. SPF is from Zinc Oxide and the cream is vegan, organic and contains non GMO ingredients.

Earnest followers, get out and enjoy the sun, its vitamin D, its light and its warmth – but let’s be safe and choose mineral based coverage in addition to covering up when we can. Have fun in the sun!

To Enter To Win Sweepstakes:

Please share your sun safety tips in the comments below (one entry per person) to enter to win an earnest sun safe prize pack that will include my favorite sunscreens listed in this post (UrbanOreganics SPF 20 facial cream, The Honest Company SPF 30 Sunscreen lotion and BabyGanics SPF 50 mineral based sunscreen lotion – valued at over $50.00). Earn extra entries by sharing on Facebook/Twitter and come back and comment “shared” in the comments section.  The earnest giveaway closes 5-31-15 and is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on 6-1-15.  **Participants must 18 years of age or older.

x.

earnest mom.

Earnest Tip:  SPF cannot “add up” – if you use SPF 15 facial cream, then apply SPF 30 suncreen, the protection factor is 30 – it does not add up to 45.  This is a common consumer mistake so lets spread the word and be sun safe.

Making Memories.  Earnest thoughts on family traditions. 

In the earnest household there are somethings that earnest dad and I do every year, that in turn will make memories with our earnest littles. After reading an article recently, I never realized the importance of these annual traditions. They are the very things that when our children are older, they will sit back and remember (warm and fuzzies included), and perhaps decide to carry on with their little ones. 

Every year on the first snowfall, the earnest household gets a warm batch of “First Snow Brownies.”  Six years ago, our first year as Mister and Misses, on the first day it snowed I surprised mister earnest with “First Snow Brownies.”  It was the first time I had ever made them – they are simple chocolate brownies, with a dusting of snow (powdered sugar), but the intent was just to have fun with something different. Well I made them on the first snow the next year, and the year after that…and now if you were to ask earnest boy what his favourtie kind of brownies are, he will say first snow brownies (most of the time at least – at 5 there’s one thing earnest boy is not, and that is predictable). 

At Christmas, earnest dad’s mom made a tradition of having a popular biscuit-in-a-can brand’s orange rolls for breakfast (well for snacking during the present opening). So every year now, when the whole earnest family wakes to a tree lit up bright, a cookie plate and milk glass emptied, and prezzies waiting to be opened – we all sit while the coffee percolates and the orange rolls rise in the oven and not one present is touched until everyone has their orange roll in hand. This tradition is one of my earnest favorites, I love that earnest dad has memories of it from his childhood and now our children will too. It’s as though there is a tangible memory out there that will forever link them through time – oh still my beating earnest heart, I got a bit weepy there.  I earnestly do admire that this tradition created so much joy in earnest dad’s life, that his hope is to share it with his earnest loves. 

There are so many ideas out there, customs or traditions or rituals (whatever you may call them) that you can start today (or this year if you have to wait for the first snow fall) and to that I say why not create some memories with your littles, they will be the ones they don’t forget!  If you need some inspiration or ideas, I’ve provided a link below to Parent Magazine’s article “14 Fun Family Traditions to Start Today.”   

Have fun earnest followers, enjoy making those memories and please comment below to share some traditions that your households enjoy  – even some you may be planning on starting. I’d love to hear them!

x

earnest mom

14 Fun Family Traditions to Start Today