SHOP PHIL & TED'S PARENTING DAY BUNDLE
phil&ted’s mod™ stroller - noir $399.99
phil&ted’s alpha™ car seat $199.99
phil&ted’s traveller™ $149.99
SHOP PHIL & TED'S PARENTING DAY BUNDLE
phil&ted’s mod™ stroller - noir $399.99
phil&ted’s alpha™ car seat $199.99
phil&ted’s traveller™ $149.99
Jessica Pallay is the director of event programming & operations at Motherly and the co-founder of the pregnancy community Well Rounded, which was acquired by Motherly in 2019. She's an experienced writer, editor and content marketer, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue.com, Cheddar and more. She lives in Brooklyn with her two daughters, Libby & Elsie, and her husband Andrew. You can follow her here.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.
Thanks for subscribing!
Check your email for a confirmation message.
Easter meals bring the family together in ways that few other meals can. Spring is finally in the air and the feeling of new beginnings and hope is all around. But we know it can be hard to find the time to make delicious meals, and even harder to find recipes your little bunnies will agree to eat.
But fear not, mama! We've searched around the internet and found some of the easiest, most delicious and, yes, kid-friendly recipes out there that will take your entire family from morning until night. So happy cooking and happy Easter!
Waking up on Easter morning is a pretty magical experience as a kid. Add to the fun with these adorable, easy and actually kind of healthy waffles!
1. Toast 3 waffles.
2. Slice one waffle in half and use it for the ears. Slice another waffle in half and use one part for the shoulders and then cut out two circles for the cheeks.
3. Add the strawberry slices and place them on top of the ears to fill in.
4. Assemble the face and bow tie.
The Pioneer Woman
Breakfast meets casserole in this delicious make-ahead dish. It's perfect for prepping the night before a busy day, especially if you have overnight guests.
1. For the French toast: Grease the baking pan with butter. Tear the bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store it in the fridge until needed (overnight, preferably). Or you can make it and bake it right away—it's delicious no matter what!
2. For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
3. When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
4. Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with warm pancake syrup and sprinkle with blueberries.
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
If you're craving something savory, these hashbrown egg cups will absolutely hit the spot. Just consider leaving out the cayenne for those littler taste-buds.
If your littles will be off hunting eggs, these quick and easy to grab sandwiches will be just what they need to keep them going.
This is the perfect recipe for a busy lunch. It only has three ingredients, and is so yummy!
Eating veggies has never been so fun… or cute!
Veggies for dipping:
1. Combine all ingredients and chill for about 2 hours.
2. Carefully cut out a circle from the top of the bread loaf for the bunny's head. Then, cut the opening bigger so that dipping was accessible.
3. Using your hands, hollow out the rest of the shepherd loaf so that it can hold the spinach dip. Save the chunks of bread that you pull out for chowing down on with your dip.
4. Cut the two ends off of a baguette and situated them as the bunny's ears.
5. For the face, used black olives cut in half as the eyes, and quarter a half of a black olive to make the nose.
6. Make the whiskers from thin strips of celery, and the mouth is a cross section piece of celery. Put a little dip on the back of each of the facial features to keep it adhered to the bread.
7. Pour the dip into the bread bowl, arrange the veggies, and serve.
Recipe from Nesting Coral
These little bunny pizzas are perfect for serving your kids while the grown-ups eat their fancier dinner (though we totally get it if the grown-ups decide they just want to eat these, too).
Recipe from Kid Friendly Things To Do
Is there anything the Instant Pot can't do? The answer is a definitive no—including the fact that it can make your Easter dinner a complete (and easy) win.
(Optional) to thicken, mix together:
Recipe from Simply Happy Foodie
Ham is, perhaps, the most quintessential of Easter meal choices. And with the ease of a crockpot, this recipe will become your go-to favorite.
Recipe from This Delicious House
These carrots are so good you won't have to convince them to eat their veggies before dessert.
Recipe from Rasa Malaysia
These no-bake treats are the perfect easy Easter dessert (and oh-so-cute)!
For a dessert that is delicious and healthy, this Easter egg fruit pizza checks off all the boxes.
Recipe from Persnickety Plates
There's really no explanation needed here. It's chocolate layered with more chocolate. Done.
Cream cheese layer:
Chocolate pudding layer:
Recipe from Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts.
I have been pregnant for 245 days, and in the past 12 of those, everything I have come to know about how this baby will enter the world is on the chopping block.
It began when I walked into a lab three weeks ago to do an elective urine test to keep an eye on my proteins. It was two days before things became unglued in California due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and when I walked into the lab everyone was wearing masks and gloves. The woman at the counter pointed to the iPad to sign in.
"I'd rather not," I said hesitatingly, not wanting to touch the screen. "I just need to pick up a jug to pee in."
As I waited for the lab to supply the jug, a man walked through the door with sad and frantic eyes. He went on to plead, "I see on the door it says that you guys don't have the tests and not to come in if you're not well... but I think I have it. I need the COVID-19 test and my doctor told me to find a place to do it. I don't know where to go!"
My stomach dropped and I instantly recoiled, feeling immediately vulnerable. I was standing there, not only pregnant but also with my child. I grabbed my daughter's hand, scared of the world in a way I hadn't ever been before.
Get me out of this room! I made a sharp turn for the door and went straight home. I haven't been out to a medical appointment since that day, and my whole paradigm changed at that lab.
California went on lockdown two days later. And with these snowballing changes, I began questioning what a birth at a medical facility would look like as thousands of people—sick people and healthcare workers—get hit by this pandemic in a place without enough resources to help them out.
There is no short supply of unsettling tales to lose yourself in. I have heard stories of mothers in Seattle giving birth in hallways because there are no beds left. There have been many stories of overcrowding due to the influx of COVID-19 patients. I've read accounts of women in New York being told they must deliver their babies without even one support person or partner in the room in an attempt to keep visitor numbers down and protect undersupplied hospital staff.
These stories replay in my mind as I float through day after day in quarantine at home with my 2-year-old daughter. "Can I kiss baby sister?" she asks innocently.
"Ohhh! Yes, baby," I reply to her as I snap out of my thoughts and into my current reality, smiling at her sweet face.
I am living in a world of two extremes. On one hand, it is intoxicatingly beautiful—we have been "forced" into slow quality family time with one another. But we're also living in anxiety about the fear around us. Thousands of people will need hospital care in California and I can't help but wonder how this will affect my baby's birth.
So this begs the questions I believe we must all ask of ourselves: What do I have control over at this time? What will my takeaways be when I look back and reflect on how these pages of my life were written? What are the things I find the most valuable and how do I retain those things so when I look back at how this all played out, I will still be in awe of the beauty within chaos?
For me, this experience has led me to deeply consider the idea of having our daughter at home as long as that is a safe option for me. After much research, I have found a midwife I trust. I have also started looking into my insurance options and playing out worst-case scenarios knowing that decision time will soon be upon me.
This change means facing my fears about pushing a baby out without the safety net of already being in the hospital should an emergency occur. This challenge means believing in myself, my baby and my midwife to work together in order to do something I feel I was made to do. This new potential birth plan means casting aside worried friends' and my OBGYN's judgments about my having a homebirth and instead, confidently believe in my own decision—should it be the one I make.
But quite candidly, deciding to "follow my mom gut" has been an exciting and freeing feeling from the stress of this pandemic. The idea of walking freely in my backyard while in labor, potentially sleeping in my bed the night of delivery and importantly, holding my husband's hand throughout the birth of our last baby gives me romantic feelings for a reason.
We enter this ocean of motherhood accepting an atmosphere of imperfection and uncertainty. Very quickly after giving birth, our bodies and natural instincts remind us that the world doesn't always feel safe enough for our perfect little babies. Our minds paddle over small waves of fear like surfers going out to sea—distracted drivers, chemical pollutants, too much screen time—we let the water break over our heads, emerging in the valleys of the waves. We see the beautiful break in the water in front of us and forgive ourselves for the fear, as our hair has become wet and our skin a little more wrinkly and sunkissed.
Our children are the future in front of us. We mothers are propelled to move forward and past fears by our innate love for them. When looking at the big picture in front of me—delivering a child at this very scary time—I am finding it more important than ever to remember I am still pointing towards my own destiny, no matter what decision I make.
Have you found yourself already thinking, "Alexa, teach my children" or channeling your inner Ross Gellar saying, "I'm fine" when someone asks you how homeschooling is going so far?
I can assure you, mama, you are not alone.
In these unprecedented times, feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. And totally understandable. The world as we knew it has been completely flipped upside down. You now find yourself unable to go about your normal routine, potentially working from home full-time with your children as your new co-workers and on top of that—homeschooling too (for who knows how long).
You may be worrying like every other parent is likely worrying right now, "How will I make this all work?" or "How can I teach my children? I don't have a teaching degree!"
Well, I hope I can assure you—in any small way—that you can do this. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are already an incredible teacher. You've taught your children to walk, talk, feed/dress themselves and have helped them with their math homework (even though it is completely different from how you learned in school—"borrow," "regroup"... potato, potahto).
From me, a teacher and fellow mother, to you, I want to emphasize that your family's well-being comes first. Academics are secondary at this time.
You may be thinking, "Why would a teacher be telling me not to worry about school?!" Well, quite frankly, because this is unchartered territory. I NEVER learned—in college or throughout my nine years of teaching—how to teach during a pandemic.
We, as in teachers, parents, caregivers and students, are making history and setting the tone for these unsettling times.
I am not saying to completely disregard academics, but just be gentle with yourself and remember you're doing your best. These tips might help you and your kiddo both feel more confident on this new-to-both-of-you journey of "distance learning."
1. Provide a predictable routine.
One that you can adapt to your family's situation. Maybe mornings are too hectic because you have conference calls to make, so the afternoons would make more sense to work on academics. Be realistic, flexible—and most importantly, gentle with yourselves.
2. Monitor and keep track of expectations given by your child's teacher.
Maybe it is completely digital, maybe your child has packets to work on—sit with your child when you are able to have focused time together (even if it's five minutes or less!) and create a plan in the beginning of each week. Maybe it's Sunday afternoon, or maybe it's Monday morning after breakfast. Whatever works for you.
This is a great time to teach time management skills—utilize checklists, sticky notes, a notebook—you may have some trial and error figuring out what tools will work best for your kiddo. Don't be afraid to reach out to your child's teacher for help or clarification.
3. Give your child the opportunity to have a say in their learning.
This'll give your little students a sense of autonomy and ownership. For example, ask them which subject they would like to work on first—math or reading. Little do they know, they'll eventually have to complete both! Even small things like giving them a choice to use a pen instead of a pencil can make a BIG difference.
4. You have two new BFFs: Google and YouTube.
Don't know how to teach something specific or you want to give your children some extra practice? All you have to do is type the grade level, skill and "worksheet" in the Google search bar and you'll get links to many different website options—even free ones.
YouTube has a plethora of videos to utilize, although I do suggest screening them yourself first. You can also use Safeshare.tv or Viewpure.com to take away advertisements before and during the videos.
5. Use this time to focus on life skills.
Cursive writing, reading and following recipes, writing a letter, taking care of a plant, completing a research project on a topic of their choice, doing laundry, how to write a check—now is the time to teach or reinforce these life skills (all of which have some sort of academic tie-in).
All in all, just remember this won't last forever.
Despite what any meme says on social media, we are not going to evaluate your teaching abilities—promise. Be patient with your children, their teachers and most importantly, yourself.
Have you ever heard yourself saying (or maybe just thinking) , "If I only had the time…" or "They grow up so fast, I wish I could…"?
Well, now can be that time.
So let them sleep in, wear their PJs all day, make blanket forts in the living room—those are the things they will remember most vividly.
Remember to give yourself some grace, mama, you're doing the best you can.
And know that we miss your (our) kids, and we're cheering you all on!
Expecting parents look forward to meeting their newborns and bonding in those early days of their infant's life, but the coronavirus has changed so much about giving birth in America, and for some mothers, this means they are separated from their babies to protect their infants from COVID-19.
Separating moms and babies is rare—it is only happening in cases where the mother has or is presumed to have COVID-19. We are not telling you this to scare you, mama, but rather to inform you about the way the maternity ward experience has changed in recent days so that you can prepare, protect and advocate for yourself.
The CDC's Interim Considerations for Infection Prevention and Control of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Inpatient Obstetric Healthcare Settings states that in order to "reduce the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 from the mother to the newborn, facilities should consider temporarily separating (e.g., separate rooms) the mother who has confirmed COVID-19 or is a PUI [person under investigation] from her baby until the mother's transmission-based precautions are discontinued."
That means that when a mom has COVID-19 her doctors or midwives may recommend her baby be cared for in another part of the hospital temporarily.
For Missouri mom Veronica Batton, this meant four days apart from her newborn daughter, Theo. Batton developed a cough late in pregnancy and was tested for COVID-19, but her results were not yet back by the time she went into labor. As KSHB in Kansas City reports, Batton's test eventually came back negative for COVID-19, but not until after she'd been separated from her newborn.
"I saw her and felt her on my chest for like maybe three to five seconds," Batton told KSHB. "And they took her over to get cleaned up and everything, and after that, I didn't see her out of the room and I didn't see her again until [days later]."
Batton was thrilled to finally be reunited with her daughter, but calls the experience "heartbreaking" and hopes that her case can help hospitals determine better practices for keeping moms and babies safe without separating them unnecessarily. The hospital, St. Luke's East, has reportedly already made changes to make testing faster and hospital representatives say delays in testing are unfortunately beyond their control. Batton hopes the different levels of America's health care system can work together to address the delays in processing tests.
"The last day was really, really hard...That was the day I felt like I lost all hope," Batton said, adding that the nursing staff at St. Luke's East Hospital were great.
"They were so kind, they took pictures on their phone and brought it to me. They even used my husband's phone and took it up there so we could FaceTime with her," she explains.
Batton and Theo have been reunited and are at home with Batton's husband and the couple's 5-year-old son, who is finally able to be a big brother. "It feels amazing, like all the stress is gone," Batton told KSHB. "I don't have to wear a mask. I don't have to wear gloves."
Batton is holding her baby now and most moms giving birth in America this week are able to do that sooner than she was. Again, separation of newborns from mothers is not happening without careful consideration.
The CDC says that when it comes to separating a mother and baby due to COVID-19 concerns, the risks and benefits should be explained to the mother and that "if colocation (sometimes referred to as 'rooming in') of the newborn with his/her ill mother in the same hospital room occurs in accordance with the mother's wishes or is unavoidable due to facility limitations, facilities should consider implementing measures to reduce exposure of the newborn to the virus that causes COVID-19."
Basically, separating a baby from their mom is not the only option to protect the baby, depending on the severity of the mother's illness.
If you are concerned about your hospital's practices, discuss this with your doctor or midwife.
If you are healthy now, take care to maintain self-isolation and practice social distancing to avoid COVID-19.
If you do fall ill and your hospital recommends separating you from your baby, know that you are a decision-maker and can advocate for yourself. Ask questions, and if you determine that you should be separated from your child know that you can still pump to provide breast milk. Ask for a pump and frequent updates on your baby.
If you are able to room-in with your baby while recovering from COVID-19, the CDC says it is okay to breastfeed as long as you are wearing a face mask and washing your hands before each feeding.
Again, this is not happening to every woman giving birth, but it is one of the ways in which hospitals are trying to keep babies safe from COVID-19.
We're in a moment of huge change for families. With schools closed around the country, millions of children are adapting to online learning right now—and there's a lot more screen time in our children's futures than many of us planned. But there's more to streaming education the right way than just pressing play or downloading an educational app.
Fortunately, the internet is brimming over with high-quality recorded and live media that invite children to grow, learn and interact from home.
Kids can't learn if they're not feeling good in their bodies. After breakfast, see if you can make 10 to 20 minutes of exercise time happen before you start learning time. That might mean riding a scooter around the neighborhood or doing a family yoga video together. Then settle into a comfy place where learning can happen, whether that's the kitchen table or a desk.
Your child's days in school are guided by predictable rhythms and routines. Your days at home need their own learning rhythms, too. When it comes to creating a daily learning routine, experienced homeschool families have lots to teach us.
Think about how you want to incorporate screen-based learning in your child's daily rhythm so that it's balanced with other kinds of learning.
Perhaps your family sets a goal to create four hours a day of learning, in 30 minute blocks. Give each block a name just like the school does and post it on the fridge. Some of these blocks can incorporate screen-based learning, while others can be totally offline. For a preschooler, screen-based learning time might mean including blocks like:
Elementary school blocks might be modeled after your child's real school day with structured time for science, math, language arts and D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read!). Or, you can be more fluid, like some homeschool parents, and let the learning emerge around daily tasks like cooking (lots of math opportunities) or gardening (which incorporates both science and art).
Don't forget to leave time in between for snacks (very important!), physical breaks and of course, lunch.
There's a lot more variety in educational media than you might think. Screen-based learning can take lots of formats and it's best to vary them throughout your day. There's a hierarchy of online learning, and the stuff that's interactive or includes real world activities is definitely on a higher level than passive screen time.
How can you spot a passive video? If your child watches it without interacting in any way (aside from maybe laughing, or—less good—drooling) then that's a red flag. In general, a lot of the educational videos you'll find on YouTube are passive, although there are gems out there. Passive media isn't "evil," but it shouldn't make up more than a small part of your child's screen-based learning time.
Educators who are trained in learning media design know about building shows from curriculum and engaging young viewers effectively. Parents of 2- to 6-year-olds should beeline to Sesame Street (episodes streaming on Hulu, HBO, and PBS Kids) and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (episodes streaming on Amazon Prime and PBS Kids), both great examples of interactive educational media for kids.
In every episode of Daniel Tiger, the beloved little guy in the red hoodie frequently looks right at the viewer and asks a question that has to do with the curriculum behind the episode—and he waits a moment for the answer, because kids love to talk back to TV characters. That's not just a cute moment of dialogue—ot's a design decision by the writers and educators behind the show that makes the viewing experience more interactive, and better for learning.
Here are more types of strong educational content to look for:
Digitally interactive: Some media involves interactive back-and-forth, like solving math problems or answering quizzes where the software helps you progress. You might already know about great mobile apps such as Endless Alphabet or Elmos's ABCs that do this. Looking for more? Common Sense Media has a terrific educational media section that reviews these apps in detail.
Physically interactive: Some digital resources involve movement, making art, mindfulness practice, voice/language practice or creative writing prompts that ask you to pause the video and do something in your real space at home. YouTube has so many art, dance and music channels in any medium your heart desires, and podcasts offer storytelling and meditation. You know you've found something really special when there's a joint engagement factor—when parents and children collaborate on the work instead of just plugging the kids in to go it alone.
DIY + maker-focused: Lots of screen-based resources help you make something to use in the real world, and then take that thing outside—like a special paper airplane or a grid called a quadrat for studying the life in your backyard. Sometimes the making is all virtual, like beginner coding games featuring Anna and Elsa, or, yes, Minecraft. Try the activities with a buddy family. What if you both did the activity and then had a video call to share your work?
There's only so much energy a parent has to help out with alphabet practice and video science projects. When you are using passive video streaming as a solution, research shows that co-viewing (another type of joint media engagement) leads to much stronger outcomes for kids and their understanding of ideas. There's lots of ways to co-view:
When an online activity is finished, circle up with your children and find out how it went. It's important to get feedback about the day that's richer than the usual tired-preschooler response, "It was good."
Questions to ask to start a conversation:
Based on their feedback, you can make an even better plan together for tomorrow's learning. Good luck! You've got this.