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Friday, December 30, 2011

A “Family-Friendly” New Year's Eve!

Just in case you haven’t made plans for New Year’s Eve, yet, here are a few family-friendly ideas:

Spirit of Jefferson
New Year's Eve Cruise
Early Dinner $40/adult, $25/child
Boarding 5pm, Cruising 5:30-7:30pm

Louisville Science Center
Noon Year’s Celebration- create noisemakers, musical instruments, and engineer a balloon drop
December 31, 2011- January 2, 2012, 10am- 4pm
All activities are free with paid admission- $13 for adults, $11 for children ages 2-12
Louisville Free Public Library
Noisy New Year- festive stories and a loud craft for ages 3-11
Starts at 2pm
Main Library
301 York Street
Louisville, KY 40203

Outside In
New Year’s Eve Party- pizza, soft, inflatables, mini golf, party favors, and a balloon drop
Tickets are $60 for a family of 4
4601 Hamburg Pike
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
812.283.8300 (limited space)

Photo source: Metromix Louisville

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Safe Sleeping for Your Baby

We have some very important tips on safe sleeping for infants from Erika Janes, RN, Coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville & Jefferson County - a program led by Kosair Children's Hospital, Office of Child Advocacy.
What is the most dangerous thing we unknowingly do for our babies?
One of the threats, if not the biggest, to an infant’s life is suffocation which is often associated with an unsafe sleeping environment and position.

This includes sleeping with your baby on an adult bed, couch, chair, etc., and putting the baby down to sleep on their belly instead of on their back-unless the doctor specifically says differently! Babies’ airways can become compromised easily, and they have no way to protect themselves - and get out of the situation they are in. Even infants whose death may be documented as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) were often sleeping in one of these situations, and that may have contributed to their death.
My baby likes to sleep next to me…is that okay?
NO! If you want to bring your baby to your bed to breastfeed, please position yourself so you will not fall asleep and be able to put the baby back to sleep in their safe bed, bassinet, or play yard after nursing.
Are there any risk factors one should know about with respect to SIDS?
Yes! The task force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome of the American Academy of Pediatrics-the authority on babies and children- has just released their latest policy statement and information on this topic. I strongly encourage everyone to read this document carefully It can be found at

The following is an abbreviated list of their Level A Recommendations: 
1) “Back to Sleep” for every sleep.
2) Use a firm sleep surface-A firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet is the recommended sleeping surface to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. A crib, bassinet, or portable crib/play yard that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommended. Do not leave babies to sleep in their child safety seats or any “sitting device”.
3) Room-sharing without bed-sharing is recommended. There is evidence that this arrangement decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
4) Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation. (a. Soft objects such as pillows and pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, and sheepskins should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment.)
5) Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
6) Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth- both are major risk factors for SIDS.
7) Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.  There is an increased risk of SIDS with prenatal and postnatal exposure to alcohol or illicit drug use.
8) Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a decreased risk of SIDS.
9) Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime- even though the mechanism of protection is unclear, studies have reported a protective effect on the incidence of SIDS.
10) Avoid overheating- studies have revealed an increased risk of SIDS with overheating…Watch infant for signs of overheating such as sweating or infant’s chest feeling hot to touch.
It’s getting colder…at what age can my baby be covered up with a blanket in his/her crib?
From birth, a baby can be dressed in sleep sack with a swaddle and then placed on their back into the safe crib. When the baby is able to wiggle arms out of the swaddle, remove swaddle from sleep sack!

Another option could be to use a “onesie” or other similar clothing with a very light blanket that comes up only to the chest and is tightly tucked in at both sides and the foot of the crib.
What’s your #1 safety tip for infants?
Please practice the “A, B, C’s” for infants! They need to sleep Alone, on their Back in a safe Crib for every nap and at bedtime! When they are awake and someone is watching, make sure they get plenty of “Tummy Time” to both strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles and to prevent a flat spot on the back of their head.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Giveaway: Best 3 Minute Express Car Wash

This giveaway is now closed.
It won’t be long before the snow starts falling, and our cars are covered in the salty brine.  This week’s giveaway is just what you’ll need- a free car wash.

Four lucky winners will each win one FREE “Best” car wash pass from Best 3 Minute Express Car Wash, located in Louisville, at 2301 Taylorsville Rd., 502.451.4400.

Three ways you can enter to win (just leave a separate comment HERE for each):
1. Follow Today’s Family Every Day (one entry)
2. Follow us on Twitter @todaysfamilynow (one entry)
3. Like Today’s Family on facebook (one entry)

Giveaway ends on 1/3/12 at midnight.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winners are Sarah (comment #2), grandnanny (comment #13), gailc1969 (comment #3), and Local Explorer (comment #7).  Congratulations!  Please email us within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So Many Toys, So Little Space.


Before and after- Practicing for the impending Christmas “toy tsunami.” 

It took be awhile to realize that every December I would get twitchy, itchy, and another word that starts with a “b” and also ends in “itchy” when I thought of all the stuff that would be invading my family room before the month’s end. Now that I have three kids, what I call the “toy tsunami” has become massive.

It finally dawned on me that if the new toys had a home, a place for them to be stored in the family room, even if they never actually get stored there, I can graciously accept cope with whatever items grandparents and aunts/uncles give my children.

Newest and/or most favorite toys stay in the family room since this is where my children do 90% of their playing. Toys that my children have outgrown or have no interest in go into the Craigslist/To Be Consigned bins (local spring consignment sales, like Kidstuff and Little Treasures, will be here soon). In addition to Goodwill, gently used toys can be donated to St. Joseph’s Children’s Home Thrift Store, Brooklawn, and local TAPP schools.

My goal for December is to have at least a few completely empty storage bins just waiting for all the new Matchbox cars, Barbies, Squinkies, Zoobles, and Marvel superheroes. (Of course, we don’t even want to discuss what my downstairs storage area looks like with all the “Craigslist/To Be Consigned” stuff.)
How do you organize your children’s toys?
Contributed by Carrie Vittitoe, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Phew, It’s Over… Now What?

I have a friend who uses a snowman theme for her holiday decorating so she can leave some of her decor up through the end of January.

Not me. 

When Christmas is over I can't wait to put the stuff away.  I actually like un-decorating the tree!
In 1987, syndicated humor columnist Erma Bombeck wrote about un-decorating the tree.

She began by asking her readers if they'd like to have some quiet time, alone.  If so, she commanded:

Read my lips and slowly repeat after me: ''I am going to take the Christmas tree down.''
You will only have to say it once and feet will scurry, doors will slam, car motors will turn over. In 30 seconds you'll feel like the last person on Earth.

No one loves a Christmas tree on Jan. 1.

Next to the presidency, detrimming a tree has to be the loneliest job in the world. It has fallen to women for centuries and is considered a skill only they can do, like replacing the roll on the toilet tissue spindle, painting baseboards, holding a wet washcloth for a child who is throwing up or taking out a splinter with a needle.

How to undecorate the tree is my business. There's no one around to give advice, so I do it my way. I take the end of a rope of gold tinsel and give it a jerk. The tree spins around, and I clean the whole thing off in eight seconds. I eat the candy canes as I go along. Better me than the mice. I never bother with sheets to catch all the dry needles. I just vacuum them up until the sweeper smokes. Then I empty it and start all over again. The balls near the bottom I catch in a box, and the ones near the top I shake off and sometimes catch in midair.

In nearly 38 years, you'd think someone would be curious enough to ask what happened to that large tree that was in the living room last week. No one ever does…

This column originally appeared January 1, 1987.  It is included in ''Forever, Erma'' (Andrews and McMeel).

Contributed by Elaine Jack, Assistant Editor, Today's Family magazine.
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