Sunday, October 26, 2014

Celeb Moms with October Birthdays: Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose, Ciara, Gwen Stefani and more

Clockwise: Celeb moms Kim Kardashian, Ciara, Amber Rose and Monica Brown celebrated birthdays this weekl
Happy Birthday!! 

This week, quite a few of our most fab and famous celebrity moms celebrated birthdays. Kim Kardashian West and Amber Rose ironically share a birthday on October 21, ironic because Rose was a longtime girlfriend of Kardashian West's husband Kanye West.

Monica Brown celebrated on Friday, October 24th and  spent part of it nursing her daughter Laiyah who she Instagrammed about taking to Childrens' Hospital in Atlanta. Get well soon, sweet girl. 

Happy Birthday, today to Ciara who posed with the symbol for the astrological sign for Sagittarius, the Goat.  She shares a birthday with country singer and recent mom to twins Chely Wright 
Clockwise: Kelly Preston, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Jane Krakowski, Sherri Saum and Alicia Silverstone had October Birthdays
Other October Bellyitch Bumpwatch alums include The Fosters' Sherri Saum (Oct. 1); Neve Campbell (Oct. 2), Gwen Stefani (Oct. 3), Alicia Silverston (Oct. 4), ER's Parminder Nagra (Oct. 5) and Toni Braxton (Oct. 7)

Mid-October birthday girls were Emily Deschanel and Jane Krakowski (Oct. 11) Marion Jones, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Kelly Preston (Oct. 12); My Wife and Kids' Jennifer Freeman (Oct. 20)

Country singer Chely Wright and Olympic runner Marion Anderson had October birthdays. 

Happy Birthday in advance to Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks (Oct. 26); and Nia Long  and Eva Marcille (Oct. 30).

Happy Birthday coming to Nia Long and Eva Marcille (Oct. 30) and Phaedra Parks (Oct. 26)
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

3 safety & security tips for moms

With all the recent stories of abductions, women, including moms, need to read up on ways to stay safe and secure when out and about. 

Self-defense expert Jarrett Arthur offers these three tips for mothers who are particularly susceptible to be victims of crimes because they're always distracted. 

1) Be aware of your surroundings and limit distractions. Generally speaking, violent criminals look for easy targets. When walking from point A to point B, being on your phone, listening to music with your earphones, sending texts or emails, rummaging through your purse or bag, or simply not being present in the moment (read: thinking about that incident at work, or your ever growing to do list) signals to a bad guy that you might be an ideal victim. 

2) Reduce the time it takes you to transition into/out of cars and homes. The entering or exiting of vehicles, buildings, and homes is often one of the prime times a violent criminal looks to make a move. Pay extra attention to your surroundings (including behind you) and potential hiding places, close and lock doors immediately, and limit the time it takes you to fully get in or get out of your home or car. Sitting in your car with the driver side door open while you gather or organize your belongings is aparticularly dangerous habit to engage in.

3) Use verbal and body language boundary setting if you’re being threatened. You might not have the option to use verbal and body language boundary setting techniques to deescalate a potentially dangerous encounter, but if the incident hasn't immediately started with a physical assault you could have the opportunity to establish your boundaries using a tall, confident body posture, eye contact, keeping your hand up in front of you in a “stop” signal, and in a clear, loud voice state the actions you want this person to follow, “Stop! Back up! Don’t come closer!”

Good luck and stay safe!

Bellyitch Celeb Moms release 10 NEW Songs and VIDEOS

My latest jam is Gwen Stefani's new single "Baby Don't Lie" and so are some of these brand new and relatively new songs and videos our Bellyitch Bumpwatch alums have dropped this year. These are some of the hardest ladies moms in the industry. Check em out!

Alicia Keys' inspirational song "We are Here" was released last month complete with a hashtag campaign.

Fergie's new song "L.A. Love " is hot and catchy though there is no video for it yet.

She did share on Instagram stills from it. Can't wait! Here is one:
A photo posted by Fergie (@fergie) on

Tamar Braxton Herbert recently collaborated with hip hop crooner Future on her latest "Let me Know" and released the audio for it on her YouTube account earlier this month.

Hillary Scott and Lady Antebellum's latest "I Did With You"

It's a bit old now, but 5 months ago, 2nd time mom to be Shakira released the video for her World Cup Soccer song, "La La La"

Mom-to-be Carrie Underwood just released her latest single "Something in the Water". No video yet, but take a listen to the audio.

This Summer, Jennifer Hudson dropped the popping song, "Walk it out" and released its video

This Spring, Lily Allen shared the video for her song "Sheezus"

Erica Campbell of Mary Mary's video for her single "Help" came out this winter in February, but I'm squeezing it in here anyway to represent pop gospel!! ha!
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Friday, October 24, 2014

6 tips for teaching your kid Chinese

One of the hottest new parenting trends right now is teaching children a second language, specifically Chinese. 

As China’s global economic influence grows, learning to confidently communicate with Chinese-speaking businesspeople becomes even more beneficial to those in English-speaking countries, and that influence is showing no sign of slowing anytime in the near future. 

Helping children to learn a second language alongside their native tongue during their formative years builds a foundation for strong fluency as they get older, provided that they continue to work towards improving those skills. The following hints can help determined parents set their little ones on a path to Chinese fluency.

    1.     Choose a Dialect – There are many dialects of Chinese, with Mandarin and Cantonese being the most popular. Before you ever give your little one her first Chinese lesson, you’ll need to determine which dialect you’ll be pursuing. Among native Chinese, those who speak Mandarin generally understand very little Cantonese, but most that do not speak Mandarin primarily are able to communicate with varying degrees of fluency in Mandarin, as it’s been the official language of China since 1913. The one commonality between all Chinese languages is a shared system of writing and characters
    2.  Learn Chinese – Chinese languages can be somewhat difficult for an adult with no previous exposure to master, but being able to grasp basic vocabulary words and sentence structure will make the process far easier for your toddler. Unless she’s fortunate enough to have consistent exposure to spoken Chinese on a regular basis, your child may learn incorrect pronunciation and grammar without the guidance of a fluent parent. Because your toddler is just beginning to grasp the concept of language as a whole, you can make learning Chinese an activity that you do together.
    3. Entertainment Can Be Education – The current emphasis on reducing kids’ screen time is a completely valid argument, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends tightly regulating small children’s exposure to television and eliminating it altogether for children under the age of two. Language-learning videos, however, can be a very useful tool for teaching your child a complex second language; provided that her educational screen time is limited and her physically active play isn’t limited, letting your little one learn by watching can be a very effective method of passing on second language skills.
    4. Understand the Power of Immersion – For kids and adults alike, one of the easiest methods of learning a second language is to be as immersed in it as possible. This means that Chinese language and vocabulary should be integrated with the English lessons you share as part of daily life so that your little one can associate two words or phrases with one object or concept. If you don’t speak a Chinese dialect and have no plans to do so, hiring a nanny or caregiver that’s fluent in conversational Chinese can help to create an environment for your child that fosters the acquisition of a second language alongside her first
    5. Be Realistic – Chinese is a vastly different language from English. It sounds different, is written in completely different characters, and varies from one region of China to another. Your toddler is still in the process of learning to grasp the basics of her first language; don’t expect her to rattle off complete, conversational sentences in Chinese before she can do so in English.
    6. Consider the Toddler Years Preparation – The number of public schools that offer classroom Chinese instruction has increased dramatically, meaning your child is much more likely to attend a school with Chinese language classes than she would have been a decade ago. These classes will refine the skills that you’re building a foundation for, so treat her formative linguistic years as preparation for the more structured instruction that she’ll receive later.

 Good luck!


Shakira teams up with Mattel to design toys

Second time mom-to-be Shakira and toy manufacturer Mattel are teaming up to release a line of toys.

Shakira co-developed the six products that will be available this November. 
products that were co-developed by Shakira in November, a press statement read. 

The Hips Don't Lie singer has asked that proceeds from the sale go to her Barefoot Foundation, reports the Associated Press.

In addition, Shakira, who is mom to 21-month old son Milan with Spanish soccer star beau Gerard Pique,  will also create a web series for moms.

Aaah got to love the life of a celebrity moms who get such plum expert parenting opps so soon after joining motherhood. 

I am looking especially at those who pen parenting books and who design maternity or kids' clothes before even birthing their first child! 

Yes, I might be hating. Ha!

Eco Friday: Fair Trade Month, 10 Tips to Fair Trade Living

October is Fair Trade Month. As the month dedicated to encouraging consumers in the Western world to purchase products made by local farmers and artisans in the developing world draw to a close, the folks at Globe In came up with 10 ways to bring fair trade values into our everyday lives.

  Tip 1. Eat In Season. 
   Seasonal foods are fresher and gentler on the environment. 

  Tip 2. Go Car-Free.
   Petroleum is one of the world's least fairly traded commodities, and that's especially true right now. What's more, getting around sans-car is one of those things that may sound daunting, but in reality, can be tons of fun. 

  Tip 3. Volunteer (Locally).
   You don't have to fly to a foreign country, or even make a big time commitment, to make a significant impact. Volunteering in your local neighborhood will have that positive impact, and put you more in touch with your community and environment.

  Tip 4. Plant Garlic.
   Really? Garlic? Why?
Well, aside from the tastiness factor, garlic picking is one of the most physically damaging tasks for farm laborers to do all day. Plus, it's one of the only things you can plant this time of year.

  Tip 5. Pick yer Own!
   Not garlic, of course ... but fall's aplenty with darn near everything from straw bales to strawberries. And what's more fun than planting food? Eating it! October is the perfect time to enjoy the harvest and give your kids a small glimpse of what it truly means to put food on the table.

  Tip 6. Can Something.
   After you're done pickin', why not get on with the picklin'! Canning is another great, kid-friendly way to enjoy sustainable preserved eats throughout the winter.

   Plan to make a difference this Halloween. Hand out fair trade treats to the little guys and ghouls. You can get kits with fair trade candy and kid-friendly fair trade info.

  Tip 8. Read a Book.
   Get educated on the impact of food production and consumption. For an inspiring read, I recommend the "American Way of Eating" by Tracy McMillan.

  Tip 9. Watch a Movie.
   With our hectic lifestyles, reading often comes more in the form of a movie. Food Inc is canonized in our society at this point. For a less conventional choice, Matt Damon in The Informant! is an entertaining dive into the creepy history of our mono-culture food supply chain.

  Tip 10. Win Fair Trade Goods is running daily giveaways of fair trade products. Visit their site and enter daily right from their home page. 

Again, if you're interested in usable information on how to live a more "fair trade" lifestyle, sign up for our Fair Trade Lifestyle List.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

22 Celebrity Baby-Daddy Scandals

I just peeped Radar Online's new web interface. I like. It's less busy. White and clean and less weighty. On there now is a slide show featuring 22 celebrity "baby daddy" paternity scandals in recent times.

Head on over and check out what paternity dispute Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Knowles and January Jones were involved in if you didn't already know!

h/t to my Bellyitch Blog Gossip hounds for cluing me in!

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Why 'Walmart Moms' don't care about politics

America is in the "crapper", according to a woman who was part of a recent focus group to gauge how so-called "Walmart moms" are feeling in the run-up to the midterm elections.  

Held in Charlotte and in New Orleans on Monday, the focus groups revealed women who are fed-up, afraid (of Ebola more than the Islamic State) and detached. 

They are almost numb to the news because "too much is going on." 

And, rather than follow it all like we political reporters do (and often think voters do too), these women have largely tuned out.
At least one mom prefers to watch “Doc McStuffins”  -- she's a Disney character who fixes broken toys in her playhouse clinic -- with her kids. (Editor's note: The Fix family loves some "Doc McStuffins".)

continue reading

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This week in Celebrity Second Pregnancy Announcements

It's baby number 2 announcements for celebrities this week. 

The Fosters and Full House alum Marla Sokoloff used Instagram to announce that she and husband of almost 5 years Alec Puro are expecting their second child. 

A photo of her daughter caressing her bump during a recent pumpkin patch visit on her Instagram account sent the word. 

Meanwhile, The Secret Life of the American Teenager and 7th Heaven alum Beverley Mitchell shared on her WhoSay page that she and husband Michael Cameron will add a baby boy to their family of three.

"So excited that Kenzie is going to have a little BROTHER! Yep, it's a boy!" the 7th Heaven alum, 33, captioned a picture of her family of three. "We are thrilled and looking forward to a lifetime of adventures! Thank you #ashleyburnsphotography for the great pic!"

Jessica Simpson's BFF CaCee Cobb also announced via Instagram that she and hubby comedic actor Donald Faison are expecting their second child. 

Cobb digitally superimposed a  t-shirt onto a pic of the couple's 14-month-old son Rocco that read "I'm a big brother."  

So cute!

Congrats all!

Photos: Instagram , WhoSay Beverly Mitchell. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to encourage your child to learn a second language

Guest post
Children in high-achieving countries around the world spend an average of 200 days in the classroom each year. In the U.S., the average is 180. And while time at school isn’t the only factor at play here, it undoubtedly has a role.

The good news is that as parents, we easily make up for that lost time and help our children be more academically competitive – not by taking weeks off of work, but by encouraging our kids to learn in fun 15-minute intervals. Best of all, those snippets of learning can take place during what we normally consider as “wasted time” – in line at a store, in the car, or waiting for a sibling’s soccer practice to end – those times when boredom and whininghave a way of putting everyone on edge.

With the digital devices we carry with us all the time, we can provide our kids with hours and even days of extra learning and skill-building. Researchers on mobile learning have found that small increments of academic practice or game-playing is beneficial to students by ensuring that “only a few points are made at a time. This leads to enhanced retention, probably as a result of minimizing cognitive overload.”

To encourage our own kids to take advantage of lost time, we instituted the following deal: “15 for 30 up to two.” If they read or play an educational game for 15 minutes, they can earn 30 minutes of their favorite electronics up to a maximum of two hours a day. “Despite their repute as mind-numbing toys, digital games have been shown to help children gain content and vital 21st century skills, from literacy to complex problem solving.

Educational digital games offer a promising and untapped opportunity to leverage children’s enthusiasm and help transform teaching and learning in America.” Fifteen minutes worked well to get them in the habit of filling lost time with productive play.

To get ideas for what would be most valuable, we talked with our kids’ teachers to find out what they were studying in the classroom that year and then searched for tools, apps, and games that reinforced those concepts. For example, when my son had to learn the U.S. states and their capitals, we found an app that not only helped him memorize the information, but also showed the shape of the state and where it was located so he learned a little geography. 

Younger children learning Spanish and working on their reading skills can subscribe to the Wonderful World of Maggie McNair to have six to nine pages pushed to their parents phone a couple of times a week. These humorous bilingual stories not only teach a second language, but also help kids learn good habits and fun science facts.

With mobile learning tools in your pocket you never have to worry about leaving the book at home. When done well, kids get so engaged with the games and devices that they easily go beyond the 15-minute challenge, making it easy for you to help them achieve another 20 days of learning in a year.

Cindy Davis is chief marketing officer for Muuzii, a pioneer in real-time language translation technology and services.  

BumpDay: Kate Middleton, Alicia Keys, Jill Duggar, Molly Sims

Here's what our pregnant celeb stars we're "bump watching" are up to this week:

Kate Middleton made her first public appearance since her 2nd pregnancy was announced (US Weekly)

Alicia Keys bumped it up at the Angel Ball in New York City on Monday. (Black Celeb Kids)

Jill Duggar and husband Derrick Dillard are expecting a baby boy (E!Online)

Molly Sims also rocked the 'red carpet' at the Elle event on Monday (Daily Mail)

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10 alternatives to use when you run out of diapers in public

It's happened to me once during an overseas flight with baby: we ran out of diapers and the airline didn't have any spare. Yikes. We had to improvise and it worked until the flight landed. Here are 10 alternatives to a diaper that mom and dad or caregiver can resort to in the rare but common chance that they'd be without a diaper in public, compliments of Nannypro.

Listed below are ten alternatives to baby diapers in a pinch.

  1. Burp Rag. I’ve used cloth diapers as burp rags, so why not the other way around? Usually they are thick and will do the trick for a short amount of time at least. If you usually use cloth diapers and have a liner, then it should work a little better.
  2. Wipes. If you have the kind of wipes that need to be wetted prior to use or if you have any wipes that have dried out, they can be used in a pinch while you pick up some more. I would not advise using wipes that are wet, as this could cause a rash.
  3. Receiving Blanket. I wouldn’t suggest using your favorite one, just in case, but if you are out and about and have no other options then this will work. Most people have a receiving blanket in their diaper bag for infants, and it is large enough that you can fold it a few times for added layers or tie it around them.
  4. Maxi Pad. This may be a little embarrassing if others see you use one; however, it is also very effective. Maxi pads are made to be absorbent and can hold enough to give you the time needed to get some real diapers. Make sure you have it secured into a diaper bottom or onesie, so it doesn’t slip.
  5. Cheese Cloth. I would recommend folding this one as many times as you can and place it in a diaper bottom or onesie, the same as you would for a maxi pad. Since cheese cloth is made to have liquid wrung through it, you want to make sure you have as many layers as possible, and don’t rely on it lasting a long time.
  6. Dishtowel. Again, I wouldn’t use your favorite one, but at least this one will be more absorbent and may buy you some additional time.
  7. Wash Cloth. Depending on the size of your washcloths, you may want to use more than one, and either fold them or wrap them around and tie at the waist.
  8. Pillow Case. Go for cotton and not silk or satin for best results. Bunch it together and tie or pin it up like a cloth diaper.
  9. Napkin. I would suggest cloth, and not paper, but again stay away from your favorites. You can couple a few together for added protection and pin up the same as a cloth diaper.
  10. Paper Towels. Notice the plural on towels as one will not cut it. I would use about four or five and fold up to insert the same as the maxi pad listed above.

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