not-so-Secret Santa holiday giveaways

not-so-Secret Santa has chosen (using random.org) and should have delivered all the holiday goodies by now. While we usually like to write about fun activities for moms — and despite our best intentions of being entirely clutter-free this holiday season — we lined up a few of our favorite things to show appreciation to loyal readers. No “white elephants” or re-gifting in the bunch. We love you guys.

Sanity-saving GPS from TomTom. Getting lost with a baby sucks. Comment until Dec. 15 about a time you wish you had a TomTom. U.S. residents only please.

Sweet set from DUPLO. Comment until Dec. 15 for the chance to win a jumbo set of LEGOs for the little ones. Great for ages 18 months to 5 years. Tell us the activity that you just couldn’t wait for your child to be able to do. U.S. residents only please.

YBIKE toddler balance bike. Comment on your favorite ever “big box” present from childhood. Open until Dec. 15. U.S. residents only.

Rockin’ shapewear from Yummie Tummie (tank + leggings). Tell us a “once upon a shapewear story” (details in the post if you don’t know what I’m talking about) in the comments until Dec. 15. U.S. residents only please.

Organic kids’ clothes from Scout. Comment until Dec. 15 for the chance to win $100 worth of your favorite organic baby, toddler or preschooler clothing from Scout. Just pick your favorites in the comments. U.S. residents only please.

Windows 7 Phone. How do you do more with less as a parent? Contest closed Nov. 29. Rules are here.

Evenflo car seat. Share your best savvy travel tips. Contest closed Dec. 2.

Ubisoft video games. What games do you like to play? Contest closed Dec. 2. to win Just Dance 2 and Raving Rabbids Travel in Time (for the Wii).

just dance 2

Custom-made jeans from indi. Contest closed Dec. 9 for a chance to win the best-fitting jeans of your life. Tell us your favorite feature of custom jeans.

We want to thank our amazing and generous sponsors for making this festivus of prizes possible. And, when the holiday dust settles, we hope we can all go back to being friends and sharing stories.

Buy this book

It’s Cyber Monday and we thought we’d get in on the action. We wrote this book and we’re suggesting that you buy it.

rookie moms handbook cover

Bookstores are filled with activity books for babies and toddlers, but The Rookie Mom’s Handbook is the first one with activities for MOTHERS. Here are 250 enjoyable activities to help first-time moms maintain their individuality and boost their confidence about leaving the house, socializing, and doing things they’ve always liked to do—either with or without baby.

Inspired by this Web site , the book offers bite-sized activities arranged according to the baby’s age. (What’s possible to do with a one-month old strapped to your chest may not be possible with a wiggly nine-month old.) Some are crafty, some are adventurous, and some simply help get a meal on the table.

Written in a lively, supportive tone and decorated with cute illustrations, The Rookie Mom’s Handbook is the perfect gift or resource to remind new moms that there’s more to life than dirty diapers and 3 a.m. feedings.

Buy The Rookie Mom’s Handbook for your pregnant best friend or co-worker. Get one for yourself to keep in your diaper bag (it’s small!). Add it to your Amazon wish list.

We wrote it for YOU, new moms, and we hope you love it.

Happy holiday shopping!

Date night at home with Cook SF

Cook SF asked if they could deliver a meal kit to me and Heather. Um, you had us at “deliver.”

(Sorry all you non-locals.)

Whitney says:

I looked at their website and it says “We do the shopping, washing, chopping, dicing, marinating and sauce making and then neatly package all the ingredients into our Gourmet Meal Kits.” They totally get my fantasy.

I liked the food alright, and we rarely have fish at home, so that was exciting, but what I like best is the kit element. Everything was in a well-sealed container. Totally fresh, not frozen. And quite good.

My friend Christine recently told me that she was inspired by my having a babysitter every single Friday night. She has a 4 year old and a newborn. She said that although they’re not going to go out every week, she and her husband are definitely going to have a date every week.

I think a gourmet meal kit is a fantastic way to add something special to the evening. Put the kids to bed early and huddle over your delivered cooler bag together to explore the contents. Prepare a meal that you’d never have invented for yourself and enjoy!


Heather says:

Add to Whitney’s fantasy that this gourmet meal kit came on a Wednesday, my husband’s work from home day, and all I had to do was show up at home to get a fresh tasty, creative family meal.

Though the size of the meal was intended for two adults, we had no problem divvying it up with a three-year old and fifteen-month old.

Alec prepared the Southeast Style Catfish and enjoyed doing it. Milo and I ate it up. Holden, not so much. He also assembled the Mango mung bean noodle salad. Holden loved it. Me and Milo not so much. We all loved the rice and dipping sauce. And Alec finished all the leftovers.

Thank you Cook SF for allowing us to be guinea pigs. Whether it’s date night or family dinner with ease… it’s all good. I recommend this as a great post-partum gift for the local crowd (especially if you can get Daddy to assemble the food!).

And for bigger occasions:
Cook SF can make you look like a superstar if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year. Pay a little extra for total peace of mind and a fabulous dinner.

Rookie Mom’s Event at Tumble & Tea

We just made a friend! Melissa and her mom are the founders of Little Bug baby food, locally grown for your babe. Together, we’re going to have a little soiree for new moms, hoping to inspire them to get out of the house. Bring your baby and yourself for a fun morning.

We’re throwing a party for moms of babies in the Bay Area and everyone is invited. Seriously, rookie, not-so-rookie, daddy…come on down!

The details:
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2008
Time: 9:30am – 10:30am

Location:
Tumble & Tea Cafe
4210 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA

Here’s what will be happening:

At this fun-filled event, Heather and Whitney will offer tips for first-time moms on how to maintain your individuality and boost your confidence with the new baby in your life. Meet other new moms and participate in fun activities that will inspire you to discover baby-friendly destinations and adventures.

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR YOU AND BABY, INCLUDING

  • Book reading and signing by Les Rookie Moms
  • Discovering your own favorite activities
  • Onesie-of-a-kind decorating
  • Baby food tasting session (all organic and delicious from Little Bug)

If you can’t make it, you can always join us in spirit by buying our book and playing along at home.

Celebrate our facelift!

Rookie Moms galsDoes RookieMoms.com look a little fresher? A little younger? Maybe a little bit happier?

We did a little nip and tuck and we hope it helps people find content that inspires them.

We have a super deluxe prize bag to give away in celebration of our new design, so add a comment here to be entered to win. Comment on what you like best about RookieMoms.com: a favorite post, an aspect of the design, or the way the site is organized. Or give us constructive feedback suggestions (like the time Heather’s mom gave her a scale during her first week post-partum!). What would you’d like to see changed?

On October 12 — our three-year blogiversary — we’ll pick one winner to receive the Rookie Moms Redesign prize bag, worth over $200 :

  • A copy of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook
  • Baby Bjorn Synergy carrier with bib accessory
  • Scout Organic onesie
  • Miracle Blanket swaddler
  • Cooking with Trader Joe’s cookbook
  • Ratzerfratzer burp cloth

[photo credit: r. currier
location: berkeley, ca]

Activity #528: Declare yourself a rookie mom

Maybe you are a first-time, untrained mom who is just trying to stay sane during her maternity leave. Or maybe you’ve got a couple kids, run a co-op preschool out of your house, and know everyone you see at the park and grocery store. Either way, if you like the spirit of our site, please consider “wearing” our badge. If you have your own blog, you can help us spread the word.

This will help other new moms, who discover your blog because they’ve (desperately) searched for “new mom blog” or found you because they were looking for pictures of the “world’s cutest baby”, find RookieMoms.com. And more people finding us means that more people will contribute ideas for activities to do with your baby. And we’ll share them with you, and that’s good for everyone.

Just copy the code related to the badge you like to your sidebar. There are a few choices below and even more choices if you click over to our badges and buttons page.

<a href="http://www.rookiemoms.com/b"><img src="http://www.rookiemoms.com/wp-content/badge-125RookieMoms.jpg" height="125" width="125" /></a>

<a href="http://www.rookiemoms.com/b"><img src="http://www.rookiemoms.com/wp-content/badge-125noidea-stroller.jpg" height="125" width="125" /></a>

<a href="http://www.rookiemoms.com/b"><img src="http://www.rookiemoms.com/wp-content/badge-1252kidsRookieMoms.jpg" height="125" width="125" /></a>

More choices over here >>

More fun local activities for preschoolers

If you have preschoolers or pre-preschoolers, you probably already know about SavvySource as the best place to do some research and find preschool reviews. Well, now it’s also one of the best places to find out what to do with your 2-6 year old when they’re not in school.

East Bay Savvy

SavvySource just launched the Being Savvy City Sites as an amazing reference for parents in 20 different metro areas. We have been furtively and feverishly writing for Being Savvy: East Bay at eastbay.savvysource.com. Please have a read or just stop by when you need fresh ideas for fun stuff to do.

Here are some of our favorite recent posts, but there’s already more than a dozen to list, so go see for yourself. Have a click, get comfortable, and make an action plan:

99 things you must do in the East Bay before your child grows up
Discovering the wilderness of the urban jungle
How to cultivate the tiniest green thumb in Berkeley

… and many many (many!) more. If you don’t live in the East Bay, there are 19 other blogger city experts covering other areas around the country.

Come see us: SF Birth and Baby Fair

On Saturday, from 10am to 3pm, we’ll be (wo)manning the Rookie Mom’s Table at the Birth and Baby Fair at Fort Mason. Come on out and see us!

Saturday, May 24th • 10am to 3pm
Fort Mason Conference Center
99 Marina Blvd • San Francisco, CA 94123

  • Decorate a Onesie at our Onesie-of-a-kind area (is a corner of a table really a station?)
  • Buy our books — We’ll have a few dozen to sell and autograph with a special trade show price.
  • Just say “hi” if you’ve ever read our site!

There’s also other way cool stuff to see and do and buy if you’re expecting a baby like get maternity clothes at a discount, visit tables with unbelievably cute mom-preneur inventions and clothes, and learn from experts about birthing options. More details here at birthandbabyfair.com.

Calling all Rookie Moms: Come to our party!

Tomorrow we’re having a party to celebrate our book and we want to invite all you rookie mamas. Realistically, we’ll just expect those of you who live in the Bay Area to show up.

The details:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
11:00am – 12:30pm

Studio Grow
1035 10th Street at Gilman
Berkeley, CA
510.526.9888

Here’s what will be happening:

At this fun-filled event, Heather and Whitney will offer tips for first-time moms on how to maintain your individuality and boost your confidence with the new baby in your life. Meet other new moms and participate in fun activities that will inspire you to discover baby-friendly destinations and adventures.

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR YOU AND BABY, INCLUDING

  • Babywearing session: 5-10 different carriers will be available for moms to try on.
  • Baby Portrait Station: Your newborn cutie can get their photo snapped by a professional photographer, Jen Molander
  • Onesie-of-a-kind Decorating Station: We supply the materials, you leave with a cute new top for your baby
  • Raffle for baby items, including
    • $25 Studio Grow “Green Card” for a family’s admission to Studio Grow
    • An autographed copy of Rookie Mom’s Handbook (with many more on sale!)
    • Mommy Organizer
    • Moby Wrap
    • A Lucky Brand Baby outfit worth $100.00!

Immediately following the event, Studio Grow will be hosting Baby Grow, their weekly drop-in parent discussion group for parents of children 0-12 months. Group is facilitated by Judy Alley, a pediatric social worker.