Saturday, August 18, 2007

How Baby Boomer Can Feather Their Empty Nest

As your kidults begin to pack up for college, does the thought of creating a more grown-up nest sound good? Can you visualize more simplicity and less chaos? Think about what it would be like to clean out the drawers, give away the memorabilia your kids don't want, get rid of all the stuff they're outgrown and make your home yours again.

If you decide to make a change, it will be an ongoing process filled with both positive and negative emotions. This transition signifies the end of an important chapter in your life - the house full of family and activity, of growing children and all their antics. You may mourn the loss of many things, material and otherwise - valuable pieces of history relegated to the attic or sold for some ridiculous price, the hard discs of your past life, memories triggered by stuff. Yet, you'll grow to feel content, surrounded by what is most important to you - perhaps the photo albums that trace your family history, souvenirs from your travels or your treasured books - and all the precious memories that you carry around in your head.

Soon, you may find yourself anticipating the changes and getting excited about making a fresh start. Altering your surroundings at home can stimulate you to modify your outlook on life. This shift can give you the impetus to explore new areas and discover adventures outside your familiarity. As you consider feathering a nest that works for you, here are some ideas to help get you started. Remember that any process takes time and, by definition, involves flexibility.

1. It is never too early - or too late - to begin gathering information about the changes you plan to initiate. What do you need to learn more about? Speak to as many people as possible who have already explored or gone through this experience. Surf the net and be on the lookout for books you can read or seminars you can take to learn more. Talk to anyone who is in a position to inform, educate and help you.

2. As the Greek sages told us centuries ago, know thyself. Increase your self awareness by examining who you are now and who you want to become. Are your old dreams still meaningful to you? What else are you committed to now? What 'contracts' have you made with yourself or your significant other that impact your choices today? Now that you do not have the daily responsibilities of 24 hour, hands-on parenting, will you have more time for yourself? Do you expect to work, play, volunteer, or continue to explore your options? Keeping a journal will provide some structure as you brainstorm, set new goals and put your plans in motion.

3. Once you have created the dream, let your priorities determine what is realistic. Are you alone in making the decision? Is this change financially feasible? Are there work or personal issues to take into consideration? Are there others in your household whose needs you will consider?

4. Understand that emotional reactions at times of transition are both common and normal. Allow yourself to express and accept your feelings as they emerge. Although you may regret what you have given away, you will also feel relieved about less clutter. Perhaps you will vacillate between enthusiasm about how your new digs reflect the current you and sadness about what you have left behind. Your interest in exploring new opportunities may fluctuate with your fears of the unknown.

As you begin feathering your grown-up nest, be mindful of what you need. Have confidence in yourself and trust that you will maintain in your life what is truly meaningful. While drawing from past experiences, traditions and values, you will create a present for yourself that is rich and rewarding.

(C) 2007, Her Mentor Center

Phyllis Goldberg, the founder of, a website for midlife women, and, a blog for the Sandwich Generation. She is the author of a forthcoming book about Baby Boomers' family relationships.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nine Easy Ways to Find Cheap (and Free) Baby Stuff

Raising a baby can be expensive, but, with a little online savvy and some help from your friends, you can save bundles and even find some free baby stuff. Here's how to save money on baby and find the best baby freebies on the web.

Baby Freebies Online

Just as having a baby can be an expensive proposition for you, it can be a profitable one for retailers and manufacturers. Many companies will give away things to expectant and new moms in the hopes of earning your business for a long time to come.

Here's how to get free products, samples and coupons from the most trusted baby brands.

You can typically find free samples and discount coupons by navigating your browser directly to a manufacturer's website. To find these websites, do an online search for your favorite brands of formula, diapers, and baby foods.

You can also often get free trial subscriptions to leading parenting magazines. At the time of this writing, you can get a free 6-month subscription to American Baby magazine and a free 12-month subscription to Baby Talk magazine directly at the publications' websites.

A word of caution about signing up for baby freebies, newsletters, and sweepstakes. Make sure you read the fine print, as well as a site's privacy policy before you enter your name and email address on the company's registration form. Each time you are signing up for something, you are probably being put on a mailing list. You may want to have a secondary email address that you use only on registration pages and, if the page asks you if you would like additional mailings from partners, opt out.

It's a good idea, too, to check the URL of the freebie's registration page before you fill it out, to make sure you are on the website of the manufacturer or publisher. Third party sites, especially sites devoted to providing freebies, may be in the business of collecting and selling your personal information.

Savings on Diapers and Formula

These are two items you will probably spend the most money on before your baby becomes a toddler. Breastfeeding is, of course, the cheapest way around buying infant formula, but it's just not an option for everyone. Here are the best ways we have found to save.

Search Online.
See if you can find products cheaper online. Do a search on for bulk groceries or formula. This site, run by Google, allows you to comparison shop across lots of different sites with just one search. And check prices at Amazon Grocery, too, which will ship these products to you, just like any other Amazon purchase. Shipping is often free for orders of $25 or more.

Join the Club.
Ask at the customer service desk of your local grocery store to see if they have any kind of Baby Savings Club. Some of the leading grocer chains offer additional savings for these types of purchases.

Discount Baby Furniture and Gear

When it comes to baby furniture and baby gear, you can save a lot simply by knowing where to look.

Let Your Friends Know What You Need.
The best way to get free baby stuff is to ask your friends and family for anything they might be hanging onto that they don't need anymore. Even your friends whose kids are a bit older may still have some items in the attic.

Have a Baby Shower.
Baby showers are a great way to get exactly what you need for the new baby. Even better, your guests can share more ways on how you might be able to save money on baby items in your particular area.

Join Moms Groups.
Join parenting groups both in your local area and online. These are fantastic resources for free information and a daily or weekly dose of sanity. Plus, once you get to know other moms in your area, you can swap secondhand baby clothes.

Join a Freecycling Network.
Freecycling allows you to give away things you don't need while taking things you do. Do a Google search to find a Freecycle Network in your area, or visit and browse the groups or enter your town into the search box. Once you find a local freecycling group, you can usually post your own needs and you find a lot of good things, completely free.

Shop for used items.
Local consignment stores, thrift stores, and garage sales are a great place to find gently used baby furniture or gear. Check the newspaper for this weekend's garage sales or monitor an online garage sale announcement service. Go to Yahoo Groups and enter your city and "Garage Sale."

A note about buying baby items secondhand: If you buy used toys or baby gear, make sure they still have safety labels attached. Also, it's a good idea to always buy a new car seat for your child. You don't want to take a risk by getting a secondhand car seat that may have been in an accident.

The most important thing for our family when our kids were small was to consider carefully what it was we really needed. When we were excited about having our first child, we felt like we wanted one of everything. But we found that some gear was not necessary at all, and some of it just got in the way.

The simple approach is sometimes the best, so take a little time with each buying decision. If there is a piece of furniture or a baby item that you feel you really need, see if you can get it gently used. It's better on the pocketbook and the environment.

It's also tempting to invest in things the baby will need when he or she has grown older. You can save money by waiting until your baby actually needs a bigger, better stroller, for example, to see both what you can afford and what kind of features are truly the most important to you. It helps me to look at it this way: When you save money by not buying things you really don't need, you'll have more money to put aside for your child's future.

With babies, as with life, the simple approach is often the best. The simpler your life is, the more time you have to enjoy your child.

Susie Cortright is the founder of and Visit her site today to find direct links to diaper and formula savings, coupon codes for baby gear and more:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Favorite Baby Girl Names

There are so many beautiful baby girl names to choose from, that it can take the entire nine months to narrow it down to a handful! It definitely seems like there is more variety with girl's names than for boys. In fact, a new twist has been giving girls boy names, but spelling them differently. The most popular unisex baby name is Cameron (boy spelling) or Kamyrn (girl spelling).

Baby books and the internet are great places to find names for your baby girl. You can also choose a name that has a Biblical background or a great meaning behind it. Since women change their last names when they get married, some families have a girl name that is passed down from generation to generation. This is a great way to honor your family heritage.

While some of you reading this may worry that doing so will give your little girl a very old fashioned name, many of the top ten baby girl names are old fashioned names that have become very popular again with the new generation.

The most popular baby name for a girl is Emily, holding that spot since 1996. Emma is number two, and has been for the past three years. This is a very old fashioned name that has found new fame in recent years. Ten years ago, Emma didn't even rank in the top 100! Madison has been number three for the past five years.

Filling the number four spot is Abigail. This is another older name making its way back into the mainstream. It has slowly been creeping back up the charts for popular girl's names. Abigail ranked number thirty two ten years ago. The same is true of Olivia, coming in at number five. Ten years ago this name ranked number thirty four.

Probably the biggest jump is for Isabella, ranking number six. Ten years ago this name was nowhere near the top 100. Hannah is number seven now, and the biggest drop from the charts. The last time this name was in the number seven slot was ten years ago. Since then it has spent time at number two, three, and four.

Samantha is number eight, changing only a number or two each year either up or down. Ava ranks number nine. That may not seem like much to get excited about, but the changes in rank for this particular girl name is amazing. Ten years ago it ranked in the seven hundreds. The name Ava didn't even break the top ten until 2002. It appears the name Ashley; number ten now, is on its way out. Ten years ago it was number three but it has ranked lower as time has gone on, never regaining that spot or higher.

Take your time choosing the right name for your baby girl. You want it to be something that mirrors here beauty, glowing smile, and sweet personality. With so many great baby girl names to choose from, it is a good idea to start looking at them early! provides even more great baby names ideas along with a great selection of products. Learn more about the uses of breast pumps from a trusted baby store. Visit us at

Monday, August 06, 2007

Find The Right Baby Boy Shower Invitation

It seems like every where we look there are tons of babies and mothers-to-be around. As many people will tell you Motherhood is a very special time for a woman. A time when many things in their life just seem to make sense. They will even go so far as to inform you that being a mother-to-be is much more important. When you want to give her a special gift you can plan a baby shower and if you know that the baby is a boy then you can send out baby boy shower invitations. Invitations that she will remember.
Now there are many things that can be done to prepare for the birthing of a baby, but a baby shower is one event that makes an anticipative mother very pleased. This is when she realizes that her child is approaching ever closer into her life. You can help with this as you not only give her baby gifts that will be of use in the beginning of the baby's birth but also for some time to come. Just another friendly reminder here, the mother to be, can be very emotional in this state. Therefore, it is nice to show her some love an appreciation by being understanding and giving.

When you look into purchasing baby boy shower invitations you will see that there are many dissimilar ones that you can buy. And trust me, there are thousands, one could get paralyzed by the deciding which ones to use. The best way to go about this might be to see what variety of preferences that the soon to be mother has. This way you can create a personalized baby shower invitation that she will appreciate and cherish forever. One good place to start your search would be online. Here the shower invitations are many times downloadable and ready for your use.

There are instances where you will be able to find internet sites that allow you to create unparalleled baby shower invitations. You can use these sites to turn average sounding shower invites into works of art. With a little creativity and love these invitations will come alive.

Now when you are looking at these sites you may want to see if you can get these cards for free or make certain that you have a good deal of time to order the baby boy shower invitations. For it can take time for the cards to arrive and for you to make the necessary changes to the assorted details. You know, like the new mother's name and the place where the baby shower will be held. These details are very significant otherwise your invitee won't be able to arrive in time for the baby shower. I know these details seem so obvious, but you wouldn't believe how many times they are overlooked.

Another interesting way to send baby boy shower invitations is by email. Yes, by email. I know what you might be thinking here, but listen up to some of the advantages. As you know many people have access to a personal computer these days. With little to no time, you can easily pick out the perfect invitation that appeal to you and send them racing across the world, if need be, in record time. With this method many of the guests will be able to plan the appropriate gifts to bring for the mother and you will be able to find out who can't attend.

Baby boy shower invitations are just one simple way to let everyone know that there is a little package of mischief who is about to make his appearance. And as we know this is a special time in a womans life. So, here is where you can make the baby shower more memorable for the new mother with great baby boy shower invitations. The ones she will appreciate as the years pass.

Bowe is the webmaster and content provider of many informational websites. Please visit his Baby Shower site at: here you will find free and valuable baby shower information galore.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How To Choose The Proper Car Seat For Your Baby

Car Seats

When you have a baby you need to make sure that your baby is safe wherever you are, and the car is no exception. You need to make sure you have the proper car seat for your child, and that it is installed properly. This is very important to ensure your child's safety in case of an accident.

When you leave the hospital they will make sure you have a car seat for your child, and may even check to make sure it is properly installed in the car. Some hospitals are even giving car seats to parents to ensure the child's safety. If you decide to get your own car seat instead of the one provided you have a variety to choose from.

Infant Car Seat

The newest style of infant seat has a base that is buckled in the car and stays there. The carrier itself snaps in and out of the base in the car. This makes it easy to get the child in and out of the car without having to mess with a seatbelt every time. With this type of car seat you can leave the baby in the carrier and take the whole carrier into the store or house with you. This is especially helpful with newborns. As the child gets older you may choose to take the child out of the carrier and leave the carrier in the car.

Convertible Car Seat

Next you will need a convertible car seat. This car seat is used once the baby is one year old and meets the height and weight requirements. Convertible car seats may be placed in a forward or backward facing position. The seat will need to be facing backward if your child outgrows his infant seat, but is not yet old enough to sit facing forward.

When choosing a convertible car seat you have many options. First you can choose if it has the five point harness, or if it has and over the head latch. You can also choose the color and it may even come with a cup holder. No matter which type of convertible car seat you choose, it can be used until your child weighs 40 pounds.

Booster Seat
After a convertible car seat you will need a booster seat. The booster seat can be used until your child weighs 80 pounds. There are different types of booster seats. The first type is a small base that the child sits in, which allows them to use a regular seatbelt. The other kind may be a convertible seat that is also a booster seat. When the child outgrows the convertible seat, you take the straps off and use the regular seat belt instead. The child is still seated in the actual car seat, just with different straps.

Just remember that no matter what type of car seat you use it is for your child's safety. The child always needs to be seated in the back seat until they are 12 due to the air bags. Make sure you take the time to buckle the seat and your child in properly to insure they are safe.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as New Baby Gifts at