Author: Donna Sundblad

Beyonce Pregnancy Rumors Still Buzzing

Posted on Dec 18, 2014 by No Comments

Beyonce had the opportunity to meet the royal couple, Kate Middleton and Prince William, when they visited New York. And what was the focus of many articles covering the event as far as Beyonce is concerned? That she may be sporting a baby bump.

Every time the media starts focusing on what they think might be a baby bump, I cringe. People think just because someone wears lose or baggy clothing it is evidence that they are trying to hide something. What if they are just dressing comfortably?

The meet with the royal couple wasn’t the start of this particular gossip thread. These rumors started circulating back in September.

I’m not saying that we don’t all go through the thought process of thinking someone might be pregnant when we see little clues. But most of those clues aren’t observable unless you are with the person on a regular basis. I mean, things like morning sickness aren’t going to be picked up by a camera.

With that said, I read one article that offered 10 reasons that pointed to Beyonce being pregnant, but it was all speculation.

The thing I don’t like is when headlines tell a woman she looks pregnant when she might not be. The woman may just be wearing something baggy.

And if they are pregnant, people have various reasons why they may want to hide a pregnancy for a little time. In fact, since the risk of miscarriage is highest during the first trimester, many moms-to-be choose to wait to share their big news until at least 10 to 12 weeks.

I personally didn’t enjoy people commenting on how I looked while I was pregnant. Yes, I was “big as a house” with my second child, but I didn’t really need to hear others say it. I already felt like I needed a crane to get out of a chair by the eighth month.

If you were a sexy celebrity, like Beyonce, would you announce to the world that you were expecting early on? I certainly wouldn’t. The media already makes a baby bump out of nothing.

Photo credits: Lehren Hollywood

Carrie Underwood Serenades Her Unborn Baby

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 by No Comments

I’ve been a fan of Carrie Underwood since her American Idol days. It’s like she’s grown up in the public eye since then, but happily she’s retained her sweetness. I

n 2009 she was engaged to hockey player Mike Fisher, and they were married in 2010. Now at 31, I’m happy to see that she’s expecting her first baby…a boy.

The couple broke the news in September, shortly following their fourth wedding anniversary. A week later, her baby bump made its debut at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois.

This week, she appeared on the Tonight Show recently with Jimmy Fallon and talked about her pregnancy. During the exchange, she mentioned that she performs for her unborn son and feels pressure to make it “good.”

It amazes me that she feels that way. Not just pressure to be good, but that she still doesn’t realize how good she really is. That’s one of the things I appreciate about her.

She went on to admit that she feels like she has to sing good all the time, like even if she’s just driving in the car, because the baby is listening. When I heard that, all I could think was “as if she could sing bad.”

Fallon himself is a new dad, and he asked about how her family took the news. She said her parents have a lot of grandkids. “I have lots of nieces and nephews so my parents were obviously very happy, but they’ve heard it all before. They have great grandchildren. I’m slow.”

But on Mike’s side of the family, she said, “Mike’s mom shed a few tears…. She was that kind of happy.”

Carrie is looking great. She’s taking steps to stay healthy on the inside and out with exercise and diet and has been working with Erin Oprea as her personal trainer. It shows!

Photo credits: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon Shows Off Pics of His Newborn Daughter

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 by 1 Comment

Jimmy Fallon, host of the Tonight Show, took three days off from the show last week. When he returned on Monday, he updated his audience about why he was gone and shared pictures of his new baby, Frances Cole Fallon. She was born on Dec. 3, and weighed 5 lbs. 11 ounces.

Fallon went on to say, “I just want to say it’s just a big deal for us and I just want to thank everyone, the nurses and the doctors and our surrogate, who had our baby. There are angels in Dallas, Texas.”

This is the couple’s second child. Little Franny Fallon joins her big sister, Winnie Rose, who is now 16 months old and was also born via surrogate.

Jimmy and his wife, Nancy Juvonen, hadn’t announced the good news right away, but decided to enjoy their new daughter privately until Franny made her official debut.

The Tonight Show Tweeted, “Due to unexpected but delightful circumstances, there will not be new episodes tonight or Thursday evening.” Then on Wednesday, Jimmy sent out his own Tweet, “Franny sends her thanks,” he wrote.

Once the big news was announced, his team posted baby pics on the Fallon Tonight Twitter account, too.

Jimmy Fallon makes no secret of how much he loves having kids. In an interview with People in June, he admitted, “This has been the craziest year of my life. But being a father is the most exciting, amazing thing that ever happened to me. And everything is going well on the show. My life has never been so cool.”

And the coolness goes on. This year, he also wrote his first baby book, You Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, and has a second child to celebrate.

One of the things I like about Fallon is how real he is. He shares his life along with his talent. Now with two children, I expect twice the fun when they dress those little darlings in some of those ridiculous but cute outfits they put on Winnie.

Photo credits: Twitter

Parents Name Babies After Popular TV Characters

Posted on Dec 9, 2014 by 1 Comment

I admit I have named pets after some favorite characters in movies and TV, but not my kids. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I did consider naming her Clint after Clint Eastwood, if she were a boy.

Luckily she was a girl, but the point is I didn’t think of naming her Dirty Harry or Rowdy after the character he played in Rawhide. However, it turns out that with the advent of Netflix and other avenues we have to binge watch our favorite shows, it seems that more babies are being tagged with names from popular shows.

Baby Boy Names Based on Popular TV Characters

According to Babycenter.com there’s a long list of names based on favorite TV characters from favorite shows, some of which were on back in the 70s. Here’s a handful of baby boy names resulting from this trend:

  • Adrian (Monk)
  • Angus (MacGyver)
  • Arthur (King of Queens)
  • Betram (Mad Men)
  • Boone (Lost)
  • Chandler (Friends)
  • Creed (The Office)
  • Gil (CSI)
  • Opie (Andy Griffith Show)
  • Sawyer (Lost)

Baby Girl Names Based on Popular TV Characters

  • Alice (The Brady Bunch)
  • Bree (Desperate Housewives)
  • Carmela (The Sopranos)
  • Gina (The Treatment)
  • Izzie (Grey’s Anatomy)
  • Mindy (Mork and Mindy)
  • Phoebe (Friends)
  • Remy (House)
  • Temperance (Bones)
  • Wilhelmina (Ugly Betty)

While the trend of naming our kids after TV shows is influencing baby names, it hasn’t influenced the top 10. Those top names have real staying power.

For instance, the top three boys’ names are the same as last year: Jackson, Aiden, and Liam. And the top three girl names have remained the same for three years with Sophia, Emma, and Olivia.

It’s important to remember that our kids are stuck with the names we give them. For instance, I like Mindy, but not so sure Mork would work in the long term. And while I like the name Adrienne, I wouldn’t want to name my son Monk.

Part of choosing a name is that we like it, so I know it’s all subjective, but I’m not sure about kids learning they are named after some TV character. Have you named your child after a TV character?

Photo credits:  wikimedia

Teach Kids to Contribute Through Chores

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 by No Comments

Have you noticed the way words are being tweaked to make them sound like they are something else? I recently heard an advertisement for a copier that was now being called a “work flow solution.”

And now chores are being called household activities or family contributions. Can you imagine telling your kid they can go outside after they finish their family contributions?

I do agree that doing chores is part of contributing as a family. Teaching kids to take part in helping around the house provides them with experience and foundational skills. The experience teaches the “how to” aspect of getting things done and the foundational skills help them see ways to help and to think beyond what they want to do.

My girlfriend’s little boy is almost a year-and-a-half and is at that stage where he wants to help with everything. While that isn’t possible, she does let him help unload select items from the dishwasher and remove clothes from the dryer. But his “real” chore is to help put his toys back where they belong.

Another friend of mine who has three kids and is a working mom was so overwhelmed and frazzled trying to keep up with everything that I asked what her kids did to help around the house. I got the “deer in the headlights” look. Her kids were 10, 7, and 3 and were doing nothing around the house.

I said, “You should at least have them do stuff like load and unload the dishwasher.”

She agreed, but said it takes so long or she needs to reorganize it so she might as well do it herself. I pointed that this is true on the front end of things, but if we use those times as training experiences they’ll be able to do it just fine.

What kids do around the house depends on their age, but there are things even young kids can do like sorting the recyclables, feeding the pet, helping with the dishes, walking the dog, dusting, and of course picking up after themselves. Let the kids help, that’s what families do.

Photo credits: David Reber

Winter Activities for Kids

Posted on Dec 4, 2014 by 1 Comment

I grew up in Northern Illinois and when winter hit and snow fell, we still played outside. Looking back at it now, I wonder how I thought trying to walk through waist-high snow was fun, but I did.

We’d build forts, have snowball fights, sled, make snow angels, and go ice skating on a nearby lake. Yes, we walked a mile in the snow to get to the lake.

When we came back into the house we’d put our gloves on the heat vent to dry, hang our coats and leggings in the basement where they were free to drip on the floor, and then enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

By the time I had my kids, they played outside in the winter, too, doing much the same as I did, but in a limited fashion as subdivisions had sprouted and there wasn’t as much fresh snow and space to play. Let’s face it, once you’ve trampled through the snow in your yard and built the fort, it is time to go in the house.

And when the wind chill made it unhealthy to go outside everyone was trapped in the house. I recently read an article about things to do with your kids during the winter. One idea was to redo a room. Buy new bedding, rearrange, etc.

While that’s a great idea, I felt it smacked of Tom Sawyerism. Remember when he talked others into whitewashing the fence. I know there might be a handful of kids who think rearranging a room and decorating it is fun, but truth be told most of us parents would be operating solo within about an hour, once the kids were bored with our idea of fun.

My idea of fun winter activities for kids leans more toward crafts and baking. Kids enjoy making cookies and the reward that follows. Nothing like fresh homemade cookies while their warm.

And here’s a few of the craft ideas my kids thought were fun and still work today:

One last thing my kids liked to do was give me a make over. I’d pull out my old make up and let them paint my face. With two kids, each got one side of my face to work with. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun and actually felt good. Sometimes I’d wash my face and we’d start all over again.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Boys Buried in Snow Fort Rescued Thanksgiving Morning

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 by 1 Comment

Kids love to build forts. Whether it’s blankets draped from furniture, building a tree fort, or making a fort from snow, they provide timeless hours of fun.

Growing up north of Chicago, snow forts and snowball fights were part of childhood, and part of snow forts for us were safety hatches we called trapdoors. They were placed strategically in case of accidental collapse. From time to time they were actually needed, but it didn’t seem like any big deal at the time.

On the day before Thanksgiving, two boys were building a snow fort in Newburgh, New York, in a parking lot near their homes. The thing is, they were building it in an existing snowbank and while they were inside their fort a snow plow came along to clear six inches of newly fallen snow.

The driver decided to dump it onto an existing snow bank. The very snow bank where the boys, ages 9 and 11, were playing. They were trapped inside.

The snowplow driver had no idea they were there. I don’t even think an escape hatch could have helped because it wasn’t a typical collapse. It was more like a mini avalanche which buried the boys. And no one knew where they were.

They weren’t reported missing for several hours. By 10:00 p.m. the families grew concerned and hit the streets searching the neighborhood. When they saw no sign of them they called the police almost two hours later.

When they learned the boys had been building a fort in the parking lot, nine officers and a police dog responded and searched the area in the pre-dawn hours on Thanksgiving morning.

One officer “found a shovel that was half-buried” and started digging into the bank. He spotted a small boot and a frantic rescue followed. Police said, “Officers, family members, community members, and mobile ambulance personnel assisted in digging out the boys with shovels and with their hands.”

At 2:10 a.m., the boys were pulled from snow alive and well. Sgt. Aaron Weaver told WCBS News that, “They were probably in about five feet of snow, but however it fell, there was, like, a dome around their heads, so there was air in there, like space for them.”

The boys were taken to the hospital for observation, and both were in good condition. Needless to say for those families, neighbors, and emergency personnel, it started Thanksgiving Day with a an extra measure of thankfulness.

Photo credits: MOMOKOY

Largest Stroller Recall Ever Spans 14 Years

Posted on Nov 26, 2014 by No Comments

Graco has issued a voluntary recall of nearly 5 million strollers due to an exposed hinge that could snip off the tip of tiny fingers.

According to a news release from the company, this hinge poses “a laceration or amputation hazard.” At this time, Graco has received 11 reports of finger injuries with six of them being finger amputations.

Graco Strollers Recalled

The strollers affected by this latest Graco recall were sold between August 2000 and November 2014. The fact that almost 85 percent of the strollers being recalled were sold more than 7 years ago means strollers bought at garage sales or second-hand outlets have a good chance of falling into this category.

Model names  of strollers being recalled include: Aspen, Breeze, Capri, Cirrus, Glider, Kite, LiteRider, Sierra, Solara, Sterling and TravelMate. These stroller models are single-occupant strollers and are equipped with an external sliding fold-lock hinge on each side and a one-hand fold release mechanism on the handle.

More details including model names and numbers (located at the bottom of the stroller leg just above the rear wheels) can be found on their website.

While the majority of strollers being recalled are older models, Graco says they are “committed to the safety of our products and have included all strollers that used the same hinge design sold during the last 14 years.”

Graco Offering Free Fix

While the number of injuries is small, Graco hopes to alleviate consumer concerns by offering free hinge covers to those who have purchased any of the recalled strollers.

If you think your stroller may be one of the recalled models, you can order the repair kit by entering the model number on GracoBaby.com or by phone at (800)-345-4109 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Second Graco Recall This Year

Unfortunately for Graco, this is their second large recall this year. In the spring, they recalled 4.2 million car seats because the harness buckles could get stuck if gummed up by food and drinks.

In that case, they offered a replacement buckle for those affected car seats. And then in April, Evenflo also recalled 1.3 million child safety seat buckles for latch sticking problems.

For more information, call Graco at 800-345-4109 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Photo credits: Amazon

Snooki Down to 99 Pounds 7 Weeks After Giving Birth

Posted on Nov 25, 2014 by 1 Comment

Jersey Shore star, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi made news last year when she dropped 50 pounds. Then we learned she was expecting her second child.

For many of us, pregnancy means weight gain and unwanted pounds we have to battle after the baby is born. But Snooki is down to 99 pounds just 7 weeks after giving birth to her second child, and a week from walking down the aisle.

Before you get upset at her low weight, let me remind you that she is only 4’8″ and for her, 99 pounds is a perfectly healthy weight according to the 26-year-old star’s trainer, Anthony Michael.

Her initial weight loss was due, in part, to coming to the realization that alcohol is full of empty calories and that she could end up consuming up to 2,000 calories in a single night with tasty drinks.

But along with cutting those calories, Snooki’s trainer says her diet includes decreasing her carbs and “reducing calorie intake” overall. Plus she’s exercising. No matter who we are, that’s the secret to weight loss.

According to her trainer, they are “…hitting the gym hardcore, doing high intensity interval training.”

Since her daughter was born, right now her fitness routine is geared toward weight loss. And it has paid off. She fit into her jeans just 12 days after giving birth, which tells me she watched her weight during her pregnancy. I’m glad to hear she has a trainer helping her to do it right, though.

According to that trainer, once she gets married she’ll be focusing on building lean muscle mass. Right now, she just wanted to make sure she looks great in her dress. Looking at her recent pics, I’d say she’s on target to meet that goal. The wedding will take place Nov. 29, with a Great-Gatsby theme to Johnny LaValle.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi has come a long way since her Jersey Shores days. She’s taken some healthy turns and it shows. She’s got two beautiful children with her fiancé Jionni LaValle, is about to get married, and is a successful entrepreneur.

Photo credits: Instagram