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Boutique Closing to focus on Parenting Education/Classes

 

Back in 2010, I opened a Granola Babies brick and mortar, after being an online store for a few years. And my purpose of doing so, was to have a location for parenting education and classes.

As the years went by and with the love and support of our customers, our Boutique grew and flourished. It was welcomed and loved in the community and still is to this day.

However, as online shopping (aka Amazon) has increased, it's become more and more challenging to keep a brick and mortar sustainable. And yet, my passion and LOVE for parenting education and classes has only grown. Truly, this is where my heart is home. This is where we make a difference in lives and make the parenting journey enjoyable.

I believe we all should follow our heart, follow our gut, follow our passion. And with this clear mindset, I have decided to close the Boutique, in order to focus all of my energy in the Parenting Education/Classes of Granola Babies (aka our Annex).

Starting immediately, we begin closing the Boutique. Our Parenting Education/Classes (aka our Annex) will continue to remain open for years to come. Our online shop will also continue to offer a selection of baby carriers. And we will continue to rent Breastpumps.

We will offer even more classes and support through our Annex location.

Our last day at the SoCo location will be August 31st.

Our clearance of the boutique begins Tuesday!!

Enjoy 30% off ALL clothing. 20% off storewide while supplies last!

All of our displays (tables, counters, shelves) are also on sale!

I know the news of the boutique closing will be a surprise to many. But remember, change is GOOD and often times needed in order to reach our full potential.

This is NOT the end. Granola Babies Parenting Education/Classes will remain open. It's only the Boutique that is closing. Our Granola Babies Parenting Education/Classes continues to offer a service not found here in Orange County. And we look forward to grow and to continue meeting your parenting needs through it

Boutique Closing Details.

NEW hours! Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm. Sundays 11am - 5pm.

Starting immediately the following apply:

  • All in-store gift cards will expire August 31st (use them now!). Online gift cards remain valid.
  • Our rewards program is no longer valid.
  • Discount codes are not valid.
  • We cannot accept ANY (no exceptions) returns OR exchanges made within the last 30 days.
  • All sales are final (no exceptions).

 

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5 Tips for Working Parents During the Summer

 

Hello summer. We love you so very much. Sleeping in, pool time, beach days, warmth and watermelons, picnics...aaaah bliss.

Unless you're a full time working parent...in that case it's hello summer and here comes the scrambling! So, let's talk about that. Because a mom that's been working since my kids, I've been there, done that. And each summer presents a new challenge, but it always works out.

Here are my tips for managing summer as a full time working parent.

1) Make the Time to Play

Even if all you can manage to do is schedule one day off during the weekday to play, do that. If you are able to schedule more days, even better. You may need to make up the time at night while they sleep or during the weekend. But believe me, you'll feel better as a working parent, being able to give that day of true summer experience to the kids. But be sure to completely unplug while you're with them. Be fully present during this time, because you don't get to do it everyday while you're at work. Make the most of it.

2) Camps are Your Best Friends

Your working days continue during the summer, but kids want to have the experience of a fun summer without the routine of school. Get to know your local summer camps and book those quick, because the good ones fill up quickly! Choose camps that are based on your child's interest and that they can look forward to attend. Better yet, prepare them in advance by having them help you choose the camps they'd like to go to.

3) Gather the Troops

If you're like most working parents, you'll not be able to take the whole summer off, so it's time to gather the troops! Be it a friend, family member or a hired baby sitter, you'll need to find someone loving and fun to care for your child(ren) during the summer break. Ask your co-workers and friends for baby sitter recommendations. Also, check with your local care-provider network, such as care.com to find a reliable, fun baby sitter for the summer.

4) Think Outside the Box

On summer months, I bring one or two of my kids to work with me. And I do so on days that I know I can leave early if I need to (aka they are fighting and my patience has worn thin). But having the ability to bring them to work has saved money, as well as given them variety during the summer months. Talk to your HR department or boss to see if this may be an option for you.

5) Co-Op Time

Is there a stay-at-home parent or another working parent with a flexible schedule that you can trade child-care with? When I've done this, I have the parent watch the kids with her own during the day and on another day, I've provided the same. The children get to enjoy a play day with other kids and you get to enjoy a summer day with yours and their friends! Win-win!

I know the challenges of being a working parents during the summer months. But, you've got this. Use some of these ideas to make the most of summer months and create those fun memories!

 

 

 

 

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8 Newborn Photography Safety Tips for Parents

It is so exciting to bring a new baby into this world!  New parents love to take photos of their precious newborn baby as soon as he or she arrives – (so do I!) – But if this baby is the first, or it has been a while since you held a newborn, it can be daunting to handle such a delicate human while aiming for the perfect shot.  When baby comes the nerves, lack of sleep, and general adjusting to life with a new baby sets in and you may get overwhelmed.  It’s okay.  Just follow these professional photography tips to allow for a smooth and enjoyable time taking photos of your baby.

Take Photos Early – This means two things: early in their life, and early in the day.  When babies are born they quickly acclimate to life outside the womb.  But their womb-like naturally curled bodies are perfect for the classic newborn image.  As baby grows, she will want to stretch out and move around which make it more difficult for you to photograph her.  The days too easily turn into weeks and months and before you know it, you don’t have a newborn anymore.  Babies also tend to be happiest in the morning, so starting early in the day is also ideal.

Let Baby Sleep – While it may be exciting to see the color of his eyes, the first few weeks of life are a constant adjustment for a newborn and his time awake is both limited and unpredictable.  During their wake periods, most babies want to eat constantly, or they may become easily fussy.  It is safest to photograph babies while sleeping because they generally move around less, and it requires less time to capture that perfect image.

Keep it Clean – You probably already know that a new baby’s immune system is only starting to develop.  All the props and equipment you plan to use for photos should be sufficiently wiped down to remove any harmful germs that may be hanging on.  Did you last use your camera at an amusement park?  Maybe set it on the ground?  You probably don’t want to put it down on Baby’s space before a good cleaning.  A good hand washing regime and the use of hand sanitizer are also important for any photo shoot you plan.

Light it Right – Unless you have professional lighting equipment with soft light diffusers, it is probably best to ditch the artificial light altogether.  It can be jarring to baby if she does wake up, but is also usually not very flattering.  Natural, indirect light coming in from large windows or sliding glass doors can make for a beautiful image.  Indirect sunlight is also good for your baby’s skin and can help with any jaundice she may have.

Think it Through – Knowing what you plan to create can help the flow of your session.  Planning for subtle transitions will help ensure that your baby stays asleep and you will be able to capture more looks in a shorter amount of time. For instance, wrap him up in a blanket after putting on a cute outfit.  You can then carefully remove the blanket and take more photos in the clothing.

Don’t Force It – You know this: babies are humans.  They have opinions and levels of comfort.  Never force a pose if your baby seems uncomfortable.  Let him decide which position to wriggle into.  This will allow you to capture him naturally and he will be most comfortable and safe.

Soft and Warm – Babies are accustomed to being inside a warm, cozy womb.  Using soft fabrics to wrap baby will keep her feeling safe and content.  Also, think about the surface on which you will place her for photos.  If you are using a prop, keep it safest by choosing something without sharp edges.  Low profile wicker baskets are perfect for this, and you can add comfort by layering fabrics between the baby and the prop.  The best prop is a trusted family member’s hands – there is also much more sentimental value in Grandma’s hands than in your average basket.

Stay Very Close – Never leave baby unattended in any photography set up.  You should always be within a hug’s reach and have everything you need at your side to avoid having to walk across the room.  Not only should you be close to your infant, he should be in a safe space.  Even though he doesn’t have the ability to roll over and crawl away just yet – his strong kick may surprise you.  There is no need to create your set up on an elevated table, instead use the middle of your bed or a carpeted floor.

Photographing your new baby can be a lot of fun as long as you plan it out and keep safety in mind.  Professional photographers spend hours upon hours training and studying to ensure they are creating the best possible images while keeping baby safe and comfortable.  No one knows your baby like you do, but if you want an extra special touch on those photos, reach out to someone who specializes in newborn photography in Orange County.

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Jennifer McNeil is a professional photographer who specializes in maternity, newborn, children and family photography.  Since beginning her journey into professional photography in 2005, Jennifer McNeil has helped thousands of families tell their story through the portrait sessions they share together. Whether elegant posed settings or casual romps spilling over with laughter, these maternity, newborn and family portraits capture what’s important to her clients. They also reflect what’s most important to Jennifer: family.  Jennifer has been professionally recognized for outstanding themed photos and expertise in the field.  She has recently completed the inaugural Belly Baby and Beyond workshop – a premier international photographers conference.

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All about Toilet Learning



Guest post by Leport Montessori

Toilet training: Just mention this word, and many parents of toddler cringe. Numerous books have been written about the subject, and parents and educators hotly debate the right time and approach for children to transition out of diapers and learn to use the toilet.

At LePort, we apply Montessori principles to this important childhood task: toilet learning is an integral part of our Montessori toddler program, and, of course, included in the program at no additional charge.

Toilet learning is a natural part of a child’s developing independence skill set. Being able to use the toilet without help by an adult is an important milestone to a child’s independence. In a Montessori toddler class, it’s just one natural step in all the other work on independence your child will engage in. In fact, many of the independence skills we teach him – hanging up his coat, putting on socks and shoes, learning to button and to close zippers, proper hand washing techniques – are skills that will make it much easier for him to successfully use the toilet by himself.

A focus on learning, not training. Much advice on toilet training includes relying on rewards (stickers etc.) and punishments. These extrinsic incentives, in our view, are detrimental to any learning process, including potty learning. In the Montessori toddler classrooms, your child will instead encounter the toilet as a natural part of growing up. He’ll see older peers using it. He’ll be invited to try sitting on the toilet, as a natural part of changing his diaper. The child’s wish to imitate his older peers, his burgeoning desire to be master of his own needs, and his interest in a consistent routine are our best allies here. And, of course, our 1:6 (or in limited cases 1:7) ratio up to age 3 enables us to spend more time teaching than in other programs, where the ratio changes to 1:12 at age two, long before most children have completed the toilet learning process!

An early start to learning. In a Montessori infant or toddler environment, toilet learning starts early. When we diaper babies in our infant rooms, we do so in the bathroom, to begin associating elimination processes with the appropriate location. We invite them to help: to lift up their legs, to climb up on the low changing table, to pull open diaper tabs. Once a child is able to stand up steadily, we start changing his diaper while he is standing up. We also invite him to sit on the potty, sometimes for children just barely over a year old. We never force a child to sit on the toilet or otherwise rush the process of toilet learning– but often, they become interested in these activities the same way they become interested in other things older children or adults do!

An encouraging follow-the-child approach. Montessori teachers are careful observers, introducing activities to children whom they judge to be developmentally ready. The same is true for toilet learning: while we encourage participation in the process from day one, our teachers watch for signs of readiness to start a more intensive, “official” toilet learning phase. Readiness, in this context, does not mean a child who declares, “I want to use the toilet and wear diapers” (although some 2-year-olds have been known to say just that!) Readiness means a child who has mastered prerequisite skills (e.g., who has a dry diaper for longer periods between changes, who can pull his own pants down and back up) and who shows an interest in becoming more independent and/or in using the toilet (observing other children, asking questions, being interested in flushing, talking about bodily functions.) Once we identify a child as ready, we begin to work together with you, the parents, and switch from diapers to cotton underpants.

A joint school-parent effort. In order to help your child be successful at toilet learning, we work closely with you to identify the right time, and to put in place a consistent approach at home and in the school. For example, once your child starts, we want him to be in cotton underpants (no pull-ups!) for all his waking hours, at school and at home. Since some “wet events” early in the process are unavoidable, we work with you to start the process at a time when you can dedicate your attention to it at home, too. We provide detailed, written tips that we encourage you to follow, from the language to use (e.g., saying “Let’s use the toilet now that you are awake”, rather than asking “Would you like to use the toilet”, which invites a reflective no from many toddlers!), to advice on clothing to wear, and common mistakes to avoid in the process. Every year, we also host a Parent Education Evening dedicated to toilet learning, where you can get your questions answered by your child’s teachers.

We have found that toilet learning the Montessori way is often much easier than parents expect. When parents and school work closely together, a child can easily complete toilet learning well before the age of three, the time the child transitions to the primary classroom, which requires him to be fully independent in the use of the toilet.

 

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