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5 Fast Facts About Whole Foods’ Merger with Amazon

Ever since Whole Foods and Amazon announced its merger, I’ve been wondering if they could find a way to get that food bar shipped to my door.

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Think of it: a selection of up to eight hot soups during cold months. Fresh sushi. Kale tossed in that amazing garlic tahini dressing. The Entire. Cookie. Bar.

Sign me up! Show me the app! Free shipping, right?

Apparently, not quite. Whole Foods doesn’t provide delivery on hot bar items. Their private label products, like the 365 Everyday Value, will be available via Amazon.com and AmazonFresh, an online grocery delivery service, as the company integrates its systems over time. But in between time, the public may see some benefits we’re not used to seeing at Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods. 20170829_093448Like lower prices. On selected items. As I shopped the aisles this morning in a Maryland suburb, I found quite a few items marked down. Hass avocados are now $1.49 each, marked down from $2, which is a lot better than the 2 for $5 avocados my neighborhood grocer was offering yesterday. Organic Whole Trade Bananas are 69 cents a pound now, down just 10 cents. Organic Fuji apples are $1.99 a pound, down from $2.99.

But before you go and fill up an entire shopping cart, there’s a few things you should know.

5 Fast Facts About the Whole Foods Merger with Amazon

  1. Staple grocery items will be cheaper. Think butter, eggs, and select organic produce like avocados, apples and bananas.
  2. That fantastic organic rotisserie chicken will also be part of the price cuts.
  3. Expect lower prices on their line of responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia.
  4. Amazon Prime will become the customer rewards program at Whole Foods. Eventually, shoppers with an Amazon Prime membership will have access to coupons, special savings and other “in-store benefits,” the company says.
  5. Amazon Lockers will be available in some Whole Foods stores. So if you need to return an item to Amazon.com, you can drop it off at the locker during your trip to the store. You can also have products shipped from Amazon.com to your closest Whole Foods with a locker for pick up.

The merged companies called the lower prices a “down payment” on their vision to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone.

It will probably still be necessary to shop the “outer aisles” at the store–focusing on produce and staples- to keep the shopping bill down. This morning I didn’t see any of the Amazon sales stickers on the middle aisles near the boxed food, bread, tea and coffee. Don’t expect discounts on their prepared foods, like the hot food bar or the coffee station. At least not yet.

20170829_093533-e1504019425463.jpgWhole Foods is not my main grocery store, but I end up shopping there at least once a week to find allergy-free snacks and treats for my youngest baby. You can’t imagine how hard it is to find snacks free of dairy, nut, tree nut, soy, or lemon extracts–all of my daughter’s allergies. It’s also very challenging to cook family meals with these allergies in mind.

At Whole Foods, I’ve been able to find vegan muffins in their bakery section and baked crackers and cookies without those allergens.

I’ve never included Whole Foods in my weekly price comparisons; I have several options, including an Aldi’s, Costco and several other natural grocery stores within a few miles of my home. But now that Whole Foods is touting lower prices, I may look for more reasons to go there.

 

 

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The Eclipse: Finding time to make memories

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Sometimes it takes a rare celestial event – like the alignment of the sun and the moon – to make you drop every thing and alter your crazy busy schedule to witness a breathtaking event.

Initially, I planned to just keep my oldest kid home from daycare and just go get some solar eclipse glasses from 7-11 and go out in the backyard and look up in the sky and hope we see something without going blind. That was my plan. Then come back inside and try to get them to take a nap after 3 pm. Good luck with that.

But my hubby was working from home. And we kept hearing about the best places in the city to watch the eclipse. 

And then I read this article about how the eclipse is best witnessed in a crowd of people. My brother in the Midwest called me and said he was witnessing the eclipse while we were on the phone and it was “pretty awesome.”

Peer pressure (and the Internets) prevailed. We packed the kids up and headed to the nearest public library, where they were holding an eclipse party and handing out free glasses for kids.

20170821_135042And I’m glad we did.

My family loved it. It’s funny how something so constant– I mean, the sun and the moon are always out there and they aren’t leaving anytime soon– could stop us in our tracks and make us take note of its beauty.

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EclipsekidsAnd not just its beauty but each other’s too. We were outside the library with tons of other kids and families, office workers, commuters, passersby.  College students spilled out of a nearby dorm to watch it with us. And we all chose to be together instead of watching it on TV or the Internet or in our backyards. Kids colored their depictions of the eclipse on a group coloring page. Another group of preteens threw a football.

EclipseColoring.jpgWe were all just spending time together really, watching the sun pass by the moon.

It wasn’t quite a once in a lifetime event– this is supposed to occur again in 2024. My kids will nearly be preteens so they won’t remember this one. But we have the pictures to prove it.

More importantly, I have the memories. Because we were all there, together.

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5 Tips for a Good Day

5 Tips for a Good Day

So it’s February.  And the newness of 2017, the feelgood promise of new beginnings, affirmations and resolutions have faded.

I’m in a rut ya’ll.

Call it seasonal depression. Maybe I need two cups of coffee to jumpstart my mood.

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It’s a tot potty, in front of a real potty with a potty seat on top. We got it covered from all angles.

Maybe its that one toddler is potty-training but now uses the darn thing every 15-minutes. I’d put a diaper on him if I could find one that fits a 40lb three-year-old. And baby #2 is teething and leaves puddles of drool EVERYWHERE. Not to mention she screams and cries at the drop of a hat now.

I’m overwhelmed by mommyhood. I’m trying to balance a freelance career and deadlines with being a stay-at-home mom. I’m trying to stay crazy in love (and not just, you know, crazy and married).

I’m trying to be the Bestest Mommy Ever. (It’s as impractical as it is ungrammatical folks. See what I did there… a little sexy syntax and wordplay for ya Thursday!)

But I’m determined not to stay in this rut.

I’ve been collecting great quotes and positive words on Pinterest lately and I recently came across a great set of daily affirmations from the Levo League, a life hack and style website. The post was from 2015 but still feels timely to me. I shrunk my list and adapted it for my daily life. It’s pretty short, which means if I can master these changes and make lifestyle adjustments, hopefully they will last longer.

1. Wake up early.

Cus opening your eyes just as the first kid starts crying in the crib, which wakes up the other kid, ain’t working out. I start out frazzled and end up playing catch up all day.

2. Read something positive and meditate on how to include it in your life.

Holla. Seriously though, this can set you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. I’ve been reading the book of Ecclesiastes and meditating on Solomon’s wisdom about purpose in life and using our time on Earth wisely. If that don’t set ya straight….

3. Take a shower.

Mandatory self-care. Daily.

4. Text or call two people to say good morning and wish them a good day.

For me, this is about passing on good vibes to other folks. And this keeps me from getting bogged down and drowning in my own muck. Reach out and call, or at least text somebody and let them know you thinking about them. It feels good too.

5. Make a to-do list with five tasks to tackle.

This has been helping me prioritize my tasks and get stuff done.  I keep it short so I don’t overwhelm myself. And if I’m having a slow day, I put in stuff like Eat. Feed the kids. Brush my teeth. And check’em off when I’m done. By the end of the day, I have a record of productivity (at least they ate food, right?)

Short and sweet. Five changes to get you in the mode and the mood to have a good day.

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Enjoying a warm winter day in January.

Life is getting better.

I’d like to incorporate a nap or daily exercise too, but I’m pacing myself.

What are your tips for having a good day?  Feel free to share yours in the comments below; it’s always encouraging to hear how other mommies are keeping it together.

Thanks for reading! Love and Peace!

The War on Vegetables

The War on Vegetables

At my son’s 36-month appointment (that’s what his Dr called it, can we just say he’s 3!), I got a lecture about how he needs to eat more vegetables.

MORE vegetables? Can you get him to eat ONE vegetable? 

Girl, bye.

There’s a war on vegetables in my house and my toddler is winning. He went from being the adventurous avocado eating, sweet potato-slurping, pureed peas-pooping 18-month-old to the two-year-old who wouldn’t eat anything but cheerios. And chicken nuggets.

Add a year and the war is still on. He’ll slurp the Catalina dressing off a spinach leaf but he ain’t gonna swallow it. I seasoned the green beans with minced garlic and onions like he used to eat them as a baby and he straight up told me “I don’t like it.”

I got really frustrated the other day and tried to force a spoon of honey-soaked sweet potatoes in his mouth. It was a small spoon. Still a bad idea. He immediately gagged and vomited all his food on the dinner table.

Bestest.Mommy.Ever.

I had forgotten my secret weapon. Veggie smoothies! Yes. YAAAASSS.

Ingredients for a simple, healthy toddler smoothie.
Ingredients for a simple, healthy toddler smoothie.

Two handfuls of washed spinach. Some frozen fruit. A cup of milk. Half a cucumber. A banana to sweeten things up. And a tablespoon of honey. Blend it all up.

Green goodness. I put a lid on it the first time so the green hue wouldn’t turn him off.

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Everyday he gets a smoothie now.

He gets his veggies. And I win the war. At least, this war.

Have you ever lost your kid in a store?

Have you ever lost your kid in a store?

I’ve never lost track of my kids in a store.

Not yet. I actually try not to go into stores with them. I’ll go out of my way to pick up a girlfriend so she can stay in the car with the kids while I run errands or do grocery shopping. Or I’ll just wait until the hubby gets home and run to the store while he’s home with the kids.

It’s just too much trouble to unlatch car seats and wrestle them both out of the car and grab a cart and get them both in and then make sure they are not knocking everything off the shelf or begging every minute for something. I like shopping. And I like to do it alone now.

So losing track of them in a store is rarely something I think about. But keeping track of two toddlers, I’m very aware it could happen.

Today it happened to someone else. In J.C.Penneys. On a Saturday afternoon. During the holiday shopping season.

I was standing in line waiting to get checked out and the cashier hangs up a store phone and yells “CODE ADAM!!” She picked up another phone and yells it again over the store intercom: “CODE ADAM!” The registers stopped.  The Christmas music paused. Floor salespeople, wearing red JC Penney t-shirts started to walk quickly to the escalators. And they kept yelling Code Adam. “We’re looking for a little girl with a black hoodie and gold barettes.”

My heart fluttered. My little girl has a hoodie too. I looked down at my side expecting to see her. Wait, she’s in the car. With her father. Get a grip Tav.

“CODE ADAM!”

Adam. The little boy who was kidnapped from the store. In the 1980s. Walsh. That was his name. And his father kept looking for his killer.

“CODE ADAM!”

SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING! Somebody’s baby was missing. I turned to the guy behind me. “Oh my God, maybe we all need to start looking.” He just shrugged.

Another lady said, “I ain’t got time for this.” And she threw her clothes on the counter and walked away. The middle-aged lady in front of me was clearly annoyed too. “Who loses a kid in the middle of a busy department store? You need to be watching them.”

“I have a three-year-old and I can definitely see how it might happen,” I said, defending the parents of the little girl with the black hoodie. My voice started to sound shaky. “They can get away from you so fast.”

“Well I raised three kids and that never happened to me,” she said.

“Now you know that was at least 30 years ago and you barely remember it!” I was thinking that but I didn’t say it. Another judgmental mom. I decided to stop talking to her.

I wanted to keep defending these parents, whom I didn’t know but who were obviously somewhere in this store likely going crazy looking for their child. And what really mattered at the moment was finding the little girl. I got out of line. Where could I look? What could I do?  I didn’t have a plan or anything, just a sick and nervous feeling in my stomach because if that was my child I would want all hands on deck.

And as I was walking away from the line, someone shouted that they found her.

THEY FOUND HER! The little girl with the black hoodie. And the gold barettes. She was somewhere safe again. Probably with her parents. Probably crying because she had gotten scared. Or maybe she was laughing somewhere under a rack of clothes. Yep, she was laughing and okay again.

So I’m standing here, blinking back tears, heart still fluttering, and now thinking about how I can ask this guy to give me back my place in line. As I turned to ask him, he just nodded and stepped back. I said thank you. He nodded. Was I the only person who had freaked out?

The cashiers returned to the counter and started working again. I dont know when the Christmas music came back on but it was back.

And everybody just kept going about their business again.

 

 

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5 Myths About Raising A Bilingual Child

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Is my child too young to learn a second language?

Will a second language delay his English?

Could another language confuse her?

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, take a minute to read 5 myths about raising a bilingual child on the Baby Center blog. It’s written by Roxana Soto, co-founder of SpanglishBaby, an online community for parents who are raising bilingual children.

I thought the post provided some good information about the benefits of teaching your child another language–and starting as early as possible.

The optimal time [to learn a new language], according to experts, seems to be from birth-to-3 years – exactly when a child is learning his first language, and his mind is still open and flexible.

My husband and I have been teaching the children Swahili and Spanish.  We have close friends that speak those languages and they are both frequently heard in our community.

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In fact, on any given day, it’s not uncommon to hear Spanish, Amharic, French, Yoruba or Ibo at the 7-11 or the grocery store. At the neighborhood elementary schools, most of the students hear or speak a language other than English at home.

So it almost feels like a necessity for our family to learn a second tongue, and not just to say hello to our neighbors. I believe that learning a second language other than English can broaden my children’s horizons and make them more aware of other cultures and diverse perspectives.

In fact, just being exposed to another language, even without becoming fluent, can enhance a child’s overall communication and perspective-taking skills, according to a study published in the July 2015 issue of Psychological Science.  And a  2012 New York Times article, republished recently, details several studies that showed bilingualism enhanced cognitive skills in babies and young children and showed promise in delaying dementia and Alzheimer’s in adults who speak more than one language.

Dig that! So are you teaching your child your native tongue? Or is your family exploring another language together? What tools are you using to learn the language and keep it fun and engaging for the little ones?

My favorite resources are on YouTube, particularly songs like this one in Swahili that teaches the alphabet and how to count.  Please share your multi-lingual experiences in the comments section.  I look forward to reading them.  Karibuni!

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10 Tips to Survive Road Trips with Toddlers

10 Tips to Survive Road Trips with Toddlers

I am now living proof that you can survive a road trip halfway across the country with toddlers.

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Just us, two car seats with two babies, a playpen, and a HEAP of luggage.

But you need STAMINA. Which includes the ability to make decisions and be coherent with very little sleep. FLEXIBILITY is important. Pack a CREDIT CARD for impromptu hotel stays and a SENSE OF HUMOR when the little ones have decided YOU WILL NOT DRIVE ANOTHER MILE WITHOUT ME SCREAMING AND PUKING.

My goal was to travel home to celebrate the marriage of a longtime friend. But we live on the East Coast. And our destination was the Midwest. That’s a 13-hour drive, 850 miles one way, and I haven’t driven it since I moved East a decade ago. It requires crossing mountains and never-ending stretches of cornfields and prairies. It requires TIME.

What I’ve learned: Stay flexible. Kids will make you make time for what’s important.  They will slap cell phones and tablets out of your hand to get your attention. They will cry until you pick them up or feed them or change their diapers. Or stop the car.  You will answer TO THEM. Or else.

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Crossing a bridge from Missouri into Illinois

And once you know who’s really running the show –THEM– you can adapt, pivot, and reach your destination, safe and sane. Here’s how:

  1. STOP. And think it through. Would it be cheaper in the long run and add years to your life if you just bought some plane tickets?
  2. If you will be driving more than 8 hours, consider getting a hotel. You’ll be a safer driver and a saner parent if you’re rested.
  3. Bring a “pack and play”. If you’re not comfortable co-sleeping with your little one, you can easily set the “pack and play” up in the hotel room or at your destination and they can sleep or play in it and be protected.
  4. Add two hours to your driving time to include diaper changes, nursing, meals and potty breaks. Plan on stopping every 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Keep a “go bag” that you can easily reach, with bleach wipes, paper towels, diapers, butt paste and plastic bags to stash dirty diapers. Add another “go bag” at arms reach with sippy cups and snacks.
  6. Put a good quality diaper on the baby and really put on a lot of diaper cream to avoid extreme diaper rash. This will also enable you to drive a bit farther before a mandatory diaper change.
  7. Nursing moms should minimize the coffee drinking, which can lead to leg cramps and dehydration.  Ask me how I know.
  8. Provide distractions for the kids. Add to your luggage small toys, DVDs or a tablet loaded with offline movies to entertain them. And I love these busy bags. My little ones are still a bit young for them but I will use these in the future.
  9. Bring jars of baby food or make your own and have ice packs with you to keep them cold. Eating fast food on the road for several days will eventually make every one bloated and irritable and give the little ones constipation after several hours of riding. And riding several hours with a constipated toddler is NO BUENO. You have been warned.
  10. Bring a booster seat with a tray.  It’s hard to feed a baby in hotel rooms that may not have a dining table.

Now that I’m back home and somewhat rested–nah the baby is teething again, there’s no rest happening here— I’m glad we did it. My toddler loved to see the bridges and point out the big trucks as we drove. The 13-month-old mostly slept, bless her little heart. Me and the hubby got to sit next to each other to talk and laugh for hours.

And that’s worth doing the trip all over again.