Naptime News: The MamaBear App

Parenting in the digital age comes with its challenges and early on children are exposed to technology. How much is too much for your kids and at what age?

A recent article in TechCrunch features a new app called MamaBear. Currently marketed towards mothers, MamaBear’s initial aim was to give parents location-based tracking, allowing them to see where their child was on a map; did they make it to school, home, their friend’s house. However, as the app was further developed, the MamaBear team found that many customers wanted to monitor their child’s activity on social media as well.

The app is installed on both the parent and the child’s iPhone or Android phone and MamaBear claims to filter alerts based on a “need to know” basis. The app tells you who your children are friending on Facebook, which photos they’re posting to Instagram, and will soon offer parents a blocked-word list.

MamaBear currently has around 100,000 active parents. We want to hear from you — is monitoring your children’s social media activity a concern? Is MamaBear the way to go?

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Wee, Wee, Wee (Gallery), all the way to your home.

When Lucy was little she was grumpy.

We tried everything to soothe her: gripe water, belly massages, wearing dumb stuff as hats - but nothing would consistently help. We couldn’t find anything to be our go-to problem solver. Until THE BUG.

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The Ladybug Art Card from Wee Gallery, referred to loving by my husband as The Bug - as in “Where did THE BUG go, she is freaking out and I don’t know what to do!!” became a lifesaver for us when we were new, inexperienced parents. It came in a package with five other gorgeously illustrated cards, and we brought them wherever we went - but none of them were as big a hit as The Bug. She set her sights on that ladybug, and only had eyes for it. We brought it everywhere, conveniently propping it up on couch cushions at friend’s houses, leaned it against water glasses at restaurants, and found a way to wedge it into the seat-back in our car to make sure she could always see it. She loved it, so we loved it, and I even considered getting that darn bug tattooed on me so we were never without it! (Lack of sleep can do weird things to new parents)

Wee Gallery was conceived of by a graphic designer and her husband following the birth of their first child. After endless research about baby’s brains, and their reaction to stimuli, they decided that it would be best to draw simple images in black market on stark white paper. The contrast images were a hit, and an idea was born! They began to develop images together as a family, and as their first child grew older he began to design images for his younger sister to enjoy as well - and thank goodness they did, or Lucy would still be cranky!

As a company, Wee Gallery has continued to develop their product line in new, exciting ways by experimenting with nesting dolls, temporary wall stickers, stuffed toys, and wallpaper. Most important for us, though, are the temporary tattoos! Those little beauties mean that Lucy can bring her favorite, friendly illustrations along with her wherever she goes (and that’s much better than my desperate idea of tattooing THE BUG on me so many months earlier!).

Wee Gallery wants to share the sweetness, magic, and beauty of their line with all of our bluum families. Just enter HERE for the chance to win a Wee Gallery package designed for baby or big kid, and get ready to welcome the whimsy of Wee Gallery into your home!

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BIY bluum it yourself: Washi Tape Art

Fourth of July was hot. So hot, in fact, that it was almost intolerable to be poolside, so we scurried inside to enjoy some cool drinks, and a fun art project to keep us out of the heat.

Washi tape is a favorite in our house for its versatility, workability, and cuteness (of course). It’s paper tape - not quite as sticky as masking tape - that is quite secure when applied, but can be easily removed if need be. This means that I can let Lucy cover her wall in tape during a play session, and not worry about it leaving marks (think blue painter’s tape).

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We decided that a fun way to celebrate the holiday was to make flags (but you can do anything your heart desires with the tape - though geometric designs might just be the easiest way to start off). I laid out the flag, using the tape to represent the white stripes on the flag, and then started cutting out some stars. This was a time consuming mistake and I very quickly switched to a white crayon to serve as a wax resist. Water down some paint, throw on a smock, and grab a brush. You’re good to go.

The best thing about this project? It’s relatively quick. Your child doesn’t have to have a lot of patience (a plus for little ones), and if they are interested in continuing to paint - just give them more paper when they’re done with the taped one!

What you’ll need:

  • Paper (construction, sketch, watercolor - whatever you’ve got)
  • Paintbrush 
  • Kid-friendly paint
  • Washi tape (or painters tape)
  • White crayon
  • Smock 

Put a small dollop of paint in a bowl (dime sized, maybe?), and mix with water until it’s dissolved - about a cup for each color, and have fun! Once the paper is good and dry, slowly peel off the tape and VOILA! 

Instant art.

Share your experiences in the comments below - did it work for you? Any tips on how to make it better? And make sure to share pictures on our Facebook page! We would love to see what your little artists have come up with!

The Mommy Diaries: Janet

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Janet : A former teacher turned work-at-home mom. 

A mother to two boys. Sebastian (2 years) and Brandon (6 years).

One word? Busy!

My favorite time is in the evening when I’m nursing Sebastian to sleep.  It’s the time when I can just breathe and feel peaceful. I don’t have to do anything but hold him and smell his yummy toddler smell as he drifts off to sleep.

No one’s opinion matters more than your own! I have to trust that I’m doing the right thing for my boys and discard any advice that doesn’t feel right for my family. That’s easier said than done sometimes.

The biggest surprise is that having one child does not prepare you for the second! My boys are like night and day. I totally didn’t see that coming! Brandon fooled me into thinking that babies were easy. Sebastian is an old soul who knows exactly what he wants and will not bend to suit what I think…he gets that from his dad.

I am so much stronger than I, or anyone else, ever gave myself credit for. I have to be their (my boys) backbone, which means that I need to have one of my own. I need to be the best version of myself so that they can learn from my best. That doesn’t mean that I’ll ever be perfect, but I need to do my best.

I look forward to hearing Sebastian speak actual words and sentences and watching Brandon find his independence.

My hope is that they’ll soar! I know that they are going to be amazing. I just can’t wait to see what their definition of amazing is.

* The Mommy Diaries series runs each Wednesday with the intent of sharing stories and creating community around being a mom (and dad!). Please email us at blurbs@bluum.com if you’d like to participate! 

GIVEAWAY: Time for a TEA party!

Do you know what I love? Clothes. Good clothes. Good, beautiful clothes that I can throw on my daughter, knowing they are great quality, are super stylish, and will totally last forever. Do you know what brand makes that kind of clothes? Tea Collection.

Before I had Lucy, I worked in a stylish boutique gift shop that sold anything and everything. Whatever we loved, we sold. Lots of letterpress cards, French wired ribbon, books, and even furniture. We sold children’s toys - lots of them - but we only sold one brand of children’s clothing - Tea Collection.

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The Tea Collection brand is a stand out right off the bat. Their color palette is always lively but sophisticated. Their silhouettes have a certain modern traditionalism to them that harkens back to old world civilizations - particularly Asian countries - and the material they use, goodness! The cotton is soft and sturdy, which makes them great for playing, but also for dressing up and making the kids look presentable.

Once Lucy was born, we were hooked. Onesies, little dresses, and shirts of all kinds filled the drawers of her dresser, and now - we want the same for you.

Tea Collection has paired up with bluum to offer our followers the chance to win a Tea Wardrobe Set! That means all the goodies you need to mix and match your way through the summer in style.

Enter HERE for a chance to win a Tea Collection set for your little one!

Naptime News: The Cost of Child Care

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*The chart above is from the Pew Research Center and represents the 2012 average annual cost for full-time child care in the US. 

The rise of child care costs has been a concern over the last couple of decades. A recently published article from the Pew Research Center explains that high child care cost is a likely contributor to the rise in stay-at-home mothers (and fathers). 

"After declining for several decades — bottoming out at 23% around the turn of the century — the share of stay-at-home mothers has risen in fits and starts over the past decade and a half, to 29% in 2012, according to the Pew Research analysis of census data." - Pew Research Center

Depending on where you reside, the age of your child(ren), and the kind of child care center, the annual cost can be over $16,000. Massachusetts, New York, and Washington DC topped the charts. 

We want to hear from you. How have you been affected by the cost of child-care?  

B.I.Y I’m Hungry: Adventures in Overripe Bananas

Yesterday morning I woke up to a grumpy toddler at the foot of my bed, and a bunch of overripe bananas in my kitchen.

Because the morning wake up call was a bit earlier than normal, I knew I needed an easy way to solve both of these problems at once, so I set my eye on the prize: I stuffed our breakfast full of bananas: spreading them on toast, mushing them into yogurt, and adding them to our oatmeal while it cooked. After breakfast was over and all the dishes were done, I still had a moody little Lucy (going on and on about wanting a cupcake), and four unused bananas just sitting there on the counter, taunting me. 

I took to the Internet, found a recipe that looked good, and modified it based on our needs (and what we had in the pantry). We substituted grapeseed oil for coconut oil, left out the nuts so that Lucy could bring them as snack to school, and threw in a handful of diced dried apples for a bit of added sweetness and texture. They were delicious! The best part about them? They’re sugar free, super easy, and totally kid friendly.

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(recipe after the jump)

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The Mommy Diaries

Happy Wednesday! We’re back with our 2nd post in our new series, The Mommy Diaries. Like, share, and email us at blurbs@bluum.com if you’d like to participate!

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Desiree : Nobody said it was going to be easy.

A mom to one daughter.

One word? Multi-tasker.

Bed time - there’s just never enough sleep happening being a mom.

Be your child’s guide and not her master…I actually told myself this and it’s working out just dandy.

The biggest surprise for me was the moment I realized I actually created a mini version of myself. I was there all 9 months (FYI) but it was still quite shocking.

Having children is an experience that teaches you lessons on a minute-to-minute basis, but what I’ve learned most is that I am no longer just Desiree. I am Desiree with a sprinkle of something sweet, sassy, and tiny which is my little Arya. All the selfish youthful ways have vanished to make way for well, us, together.

I look forward to the moment she looks me dead in the face with sheer determination and says “Mommy, I’ll pay.”

I have a ton of hopes for her but I really hope she’s happy. A happy soul can make a mighty impact on just about everything and I hope she can juggle it all at once.