Friday, April 29, 2016

Storytime: For Tots Whose Imaginations Run Wild

Do the stories made up by your little one rival the Brothers Grimm? 

If so, foster this creativity into non-mischievous channels!  These books are great examples of characters who use their imaginations and creative viewpoints to their advantage.

These tales will inspire their imaginations to take flight!

The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson

This story is a best seller throughout the UK, and upon reading it you'll know why.  Its a delightful tale of a little mouse who uses its imagination to outsmart predators of all shapes and sizes.  The colorful drawings and intriguing storyline will delight your kids and keep them entertained.

Frederick, by Leo Lionni

Some tales just get better with age.  This recipient of the Caldecott Honor Medal is a book that has amused children for years.  A little mouse, once disparaged as a day dreamer and a poet, becomes the greatest asset to his community when he's able to use his creativity and imagination to help them through the long cold winter.  Stated simply - its a great story, with great pictures & a great message.

 Abuela, by Arthur Dorros

While out with her grandmother a young girl wonders - what if I could fly?  And off they soar, traveling throughout a bustling city.  The mixed media illustrations are wonderfully detailed and the use of Spanish woven throughout the story adds an exciting educational aspect.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival: Lets Picnic with a Parachute!


It's hot, it's cold, it's hot, it's cold again -mother nature can't seem to make up her mind, but spring has sprung and it's time for the annual Cherry Blossom Picnic in Brookline!

So on April 30, 2016 lets picnic in style -- this is Brookline, right!  We'll never go back to using our has-been sheets and blankets, this year we're using Fat Boy's Knäpsäck.  It's durable, easy-to-clean, super cute and adds a pop of color to any outdoor meal!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Storytime: Books for all the Tiny Dancers

If your little ones cant keep their feet still once the music starts, try adding these books to your storytime rotation.

Miss Tutu's Star, by Leslea Newman.
Little Selena loves to dance.  When enrolled in Miss Tutu's School of Dance she learns new choreography and prepares for an upcoming recital.  The book provides great messages related to working towards goals and overcoming fears.  This book is really quite funny and the illustrations are sure to put a smile on your little ones' faces! 

How Can You Dance, by Rick Walton
This is a great book of rhymes and dance inspiration.  It is full of colorful and creative drawings, and the author encourages children to create their own dance steps while moving like trees, foxes, frogs and more.  Get ready to dance like a kangaroo - hop hop hop!

My Name is Not Alexander, by Jennifer Fosberry
Through conversations with his father, a young boy lets his imagination run wild as he takes on the personas of his greatest heros - including Fred Astaire.  " I am FRED... the greatest, smoothest dancer there ever was!".  The concept, colors and content are all top notch.  And while its far away, keep it in mind as a great Fathers Day book selection.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
This sweet book needs no words! Through interactive storytelling, Flora and her new friend learn about friendship and dance loved by tiny dances from coast to coast! Your little ones will love mimicking the graceful moves of this duo.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Love This: Upcycle with Box Play

Box Play stickers in action!
How many times have you put that same old dinged up toy in front of your kids understanding why they dont want to play with it again?  But at the same time, you look around any given room in your home, and you know there is no need for more toys.

While waiting out time to reintroduce the same toys anew, try these great stickers from Box Play.  Apply to the trash you find in your home, and presto-change-o, a new toy appears!  Such a great idea and such a practical way to teach kids about reusing and re-purposing.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Real Parties: Curious George 1st Birthday

Birthday Boy ready to party!
Curious George was an obvious choice for KJ's parents when deciding a theme for their soon-to-be one year old.  The party was enjoyed by all, especially the birthday boy.

Are you curious too? Read & see more after the jump!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Plan Ahead! Marathon Monday (April 18th)

Its that time of year again - celebrate Boston Strong!

The energy in Boston is palpable and the bright yellow finish line is freshly painted across Boylston Street.  Yes, the Boston Marathon takes place Monday, April 18th.  The Boston Marathon is not just to be celebrated by the runners, Beacon Street Baby suggests you turn it into a great family friendly day!

Breakfast:  Its not often that we get a bonafide excuse to indulge in a carbohydrate laden meal.  Sure, we're not running in the marathon, but in the spirit of the marathon, why not start your day with a Carbo-load Breakfast Burrito!  Tortilla, eggs and potatoes - totally delicious and sure to give you energy throughout the day.

Storytime: The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides, by Susan Reynolds.  Marathons existed long before they came to Boston 120 years ago.  The marathon tradition is rooted in ancient Greek society.  This illustrated children's book provides the story of Pheidippides, the original marathon runner, in a manner that children will understand and enjoy.

Playdate: Heartbreak Hill Helpers.  The road race of the Boston Marathon consists of 26.2 grueling miles, and the most infamous segment is Heartbreak Hill.  This is the perfect spot to help the runners by cheering them on.  Help your little ones make signs to root on the runners, put on your best marathon gear, and cheer on the runners.  Your support will help them conquer Heartbreak Hill, and your kids will love being part of the action.  If you can't make it to Heartbreak Hill, consult the Spectator Guide and find a space & time that will work for you and your family.

Dinner: A delicious meal that can be made ahead of time is the perfect answer after a long day of marathon celebrations.  Pastitsio is best described as a Greek Lasagna, and this version is delicious and nutritious with spinach and chard.

Late-Night Cap:  Boston-based Sam Adams has an annual tradition of releasing a special edition brew for the marathon - 26.2 Boston Brew.  Its a light German beer called a Gose, and its the perfect ending to a perfect marathon day!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)! Photo Shoot, 2012 Marathon Print

We at Beacon Street Baby love a good Throwback Thursday (#TBT)!

Check out below for our very first Marathon print back in 2012 -- my how time flies!


Beacon Street Baby had a successful photo shoot today for our 2012 Marathon print!

The beautiful spring weather made White Stadium in Boston's Franklin Park the perfect background for this track & field shoot.  Here's a glimpse at some of the photographs:

But alas, not all pictures made the cut. We hope you enjoy these out takes as much as we do - sometimes even a fussy baby can be cute!

Love This: the Working Mom

Our hats go off to Ms. Licia Ronzulli, member of the European Union Parliament, who over the years has taken "working mom" to a whole new level. 

How wonderful to watch her family grow before our eyes!

Not all members of the Parliament take advantage of the EU Parliament's family friendly rules, but these pictures put a smile on our face an hopefully inspire a new generation of female leaders.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Storytime: Books for Animal Lovers

Would your little one rather play with the dog than any of his fancy gadgets?  

Rather chase squirrels in the park than dig in the sand box with friends?  

Sounds like you have an animal lover on your hands!  Foster his/her interest with these books.  And in the future, when you're the proud parent of a veterinarian, send us a thank you card!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle
A beautifully illustrated story with wonderful rhymes.  It will entertain children with colorful drawings of brown bears, green frogs and even purple cats.  The rhyming text is perfect for building vocabulary through repetition.

I Want My Hat Back, by John Klassen
What is a bear to do when he has lost his hat and wants it back?  Well, he must ask all his animal friends if they've seen it.  This charming book is not only a great tool for learning animals, but also for teaching patience and manners.

Nighty Night, Noah, by Molly Schaar Idle
The whimsical illustrations in this book sets it apart from the pack.  Travel with Noah as he wishes good night to each animal in the alphabet.  The colorful images will spark your children's imagination, and chances are they may add some new animals to their repertoire.  

All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
The sweet and quiet book is wonderful for sick-day snuggles, and bedtime stories.  Explore calming and gentle momma and baby moments on the farm and have fun teaching your child how to kiss like a bunny, a cow and even a mouse (eep!)!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Its That Time Again! 4 Easy Ways to be Proactive with Seasonal Allergies

Spring is wonderful.  After a long cold winter, the sun comes out, the snow melts away and the flowers begin to bloom -- the flowers, the ragweed and the trees too

Not that long ago, seasonal allergies were not a concern for my family.  But the spring when my son turned 4, allergies became a major concern.  It started innocently enough with a cough and itchy eyes.  But within days he was having trouble sleeping, his eyes were puffing up and it was definitely making him uncomfortable.  My heart broke seeing him so uncomfortable!

We quickly consulted with our pediatrician only to find out some of the things we were doing with the intention of helping him, were actually worsening the situation! 

Here are some tips we learned:

***as always, consult with your pediatrician for the specific needs of your child!***

Avoid going outside in the morning.  Did you know pollen counts are much higher in the mornings then the rest of the day?  Well I didnt!  If your child has seasonal allergies it may be helpful to minimize their outdoor time in the morning hours.

Keep windows closed.  In my mind, fresh air was always a good thing.  But when I actually thought about it, this tip became a pretty obvious.  But its worthwhile to point out this includes keeping the windows closed during the overnight hours.

Keep Hydrated.  The coughing, the runny nose, the itchy eyes, and the medicines can all lead to dehydration.  Plus, drinking plenty of water can prevent higher histamine production

Ask Your Pediatrician if You Can Initiate Allergy Medicine Before the Pollen Season Begins.  There can be benefits to your child if you get them started on anti-histamines before the pollen season begins.  There is no harm in asking!

And remember, the best part about seasonal allergies is that they have an end!  So do your best for the duration of the pollen season, and look forward to summer.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Playdate: A Trip to the Market (Free Downloads!)

We stumbled across this website, 1 et 2 et 3 dous dous, and its too cute not to share.

Now granted, its all in French... but the magic of pretend play doesn't require translation

A favorite page on their site are these market themed downloads.

What a fun playdate!  Invite over some friends and play market.  From fruits and veggies, to soft cheeses and bakery items - turn your playroom into a little French Marche!

Outfit one child in an apron and they can play shopkeep.

Supply the others with grocery bags, pencil and paper to make their lists - and send them off shopping!

The images shown below are just a sample, there are many more to download and print available.

The site even has a mock up for a printable register along with play Euros.  But if you want to use this opportunity to begin teaching your little one about American currency, you can find printable play US dollars here!

Finally, while the kids are spending their cash at the market, you and your Momma friends can be oh so au courant while sipping on some Sofia Blanc de Blanc!

Merci Beaucoup!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Family Time: Fostering Multi-Generational Conversations

This is a different kind of children's activity, but its probably one of the most rewarding ones we've discovered in a while.  
  1. Try to gather multiple generations in one room.  If physically that is not possible - Skype or FaceTime it!
  2. Have your child draw their bedroom
  3. Draw your own childhood bedroom
  4. Ask a grandparent (or great aunt or great uncle)  draw their childhood bedroom.  
  5. Then what?  Talk about it!  
  • How are the pictures the same?
  • How are the pictures different? 
  • What colors do you have in your room compared to that of grandma / grandpa?
  • What from mom/dad's room would you want in your room?
Depending on the age of your child they may lose interest pretty quickly after the drawing segment.  Thats ok, you can equally benefit from these conversations.  Remember, many people reading this wish they had the opportunity to do this same project.

So even if your little one doesnt make it long past the drawing - save all 3 pictures, there will be a day in their future when these drawings will be cherished.

Share with us your drawings using #MyRoomYourRoom!

This post was inspired by a tweet from Chris Sacca.  Not familiar with him? Check him out (I recommend listening to his podcast with Tim Ferriss).  He is a investor with a very unique viewpoint on life - breaking the mold for what you may expect from uber successful tech types:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Top 10 Gifts for a Two Year Old

Two is a really fun age!  The are becoming their own little humans.  Language is developing, some faster than others, and they may be able to voice their preferences on all things - including gifts! Here are some good starting points:

Tea Set:
Tea sets are just darling.  For this age, you may want the tin variety so it is durable for even the most boisterous toddler.  From pretend play tea partys to water play on the patio, tea sets are a hit.  This Schylling set is a great choice - durable and in a lovely pattern.

Splash! Splash! Splash!  Toddlers love puddle jumping, puddle splashing, puddle anything!  Keep them dry with the proper gear.  Check out the Hatley brand raincoats - great patterns, terry clothed lining, with easy snap buttons.

Bedding Set:
At some point between 2 and 3 many kids make the transition from crib to a twin bed.  They are no longer limited in bedding, and many begin to use a pillow and bedding.  If there is a definite theme in the bedroom, respect the parents and choose along that path.  We love the selection from Dwell Studio - colorful, fun and spirited.

Kids in sunglasses - adorable.  Kids losing and mangling sunglasses -  not so much.  Thats why we love BabiatorsThey will replace any lost, broken, misplaced sunglasses. Register your glasses within 30 days of purchase - and replacement is guaranteed. Amazing!

If your 2 year old has a big sibling, chances are they are coveting their backpack.  As parents, we view backpack as an additional storage container.  Kids, they view it as an awesome fun kit where they can stash their crayons, dust bunnies and fruit snacksBixbee makes the cutest backpacks -- owls, sharks, sparkles and stripes.  Perfect size and fun styles.

Fun Membership:
Instead of purchasing and item, its a great option to purchase an experience.  An exciting way to do this is through annual memberships. The Children's Museum, Museum of Science and Zoos all offer annual memberships to families.  For example, you can purchase a family membership at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo for $110, and this membership also includes access to Stone Zoo.  Fun for the whole family!

Art Supplies:
Two year olds typically can grasp a pen / crayon, and are developing the motor skills during this year to maneuver the pen and color on paper (and other things).  There is no need to go overboard when it comes this type of gift, with this age basics are best.  But there is one essential factor - WASHABLE.  Please, please, please - on behalf of parents nationwide, we implore you - WASHABLE MARKERS!

Water Table:
They are admittedly clunky and large, but such a hit.  In the summer, put a water table out on in your backyard / deck, and you can count on some serious toddler playtime.  This version offered by Step2 has two levels and a sun umbrella - your place for the playdate or mine?

There is nothing exciting about socks - but they are an obvious necessity.  Mom Hack - buy 2 sets of the same socks, you wont get stuck with the loner sock!  Parents appreciate a practical and usable gift, and even the kids will enjoy these fun patterns.

ThinkTouchLearn Books:
At this age kids are starting to sponge up all the information they are presented.  TouchThinkLearn make a great series of learning books - numbers, shapes and colors.  The books have raised die cut elements, creating a sensory learning experience for the little ones.  "See the image, trace its shape, say its name: these modes of perception combine in a dynamic way to stimulate understanding of essential concept."  Did we mention the really cute design?

Friday, April 8, 2016

5 Things You Need to Know About Working from Home

You just landed a work from home job. Now what?

Congrats! You've just landed yourself a flexible job that allows you to work from home

Here are a few tips to help you adjust to your new lifestyle as a parent working from home

1. Block out your at-home to-do list. 

Don't bother filling out a ticket for maintenance or leaving a passive aggressive note for the office manager regarding the unkempt employee break-room and the overflowing recycling because that's your kitchen, sister! 

You may be the type that likes to clean as you go, but when you're on back-to-back video calls for eight hours, you may need to ignore your chore list and learn to soak that fry pan until after work!

2. Schedule time outside of the home office.  

Just like at the office, you'll need to get up from your work station (desk, kitchen table, bed, couch, patio, bean bag) to refill your water. Just like at the office, you'll use this as an opportunity to stretch your legs and get to know your officemates! Unlike the office, your cat doesn't care about last night’s episode of the Voice. 

If you enjoy the company of others, schedule a few work blocks at the local coffee shop and seek out the communal table.  You may just meet some like-minded folk!

3. Mute. Unmute. Share ah-mazing idea. Mute again. 

Ah, the steady, hypnotic white noise of an you like that? Kiss it goodbye and say hello to your new friend, the mute button

Have a dog? He will bark as soon as you speak in a meeting. Have a dishwasher that sounds like a jet plane? Technology is marvelous these days and your colleagues can hear the rinse cycle on a conference line. Expecting a package? It will arrive during a video conference and your friendly mail carrier will see you through the window and try to strike up a conversation. Those cute kids of yours? They will have sick days and though they are home with your hubby or a caregiver, they will break free and burst into whatever room you are in hosting an important webinar or facilitating a call. 

Bottom line - be thankful for the mute button!

4. Childcare is a MUST.  
Speaking of kids, how wonderful is it that you've scored this dream job where you can work from home!? Instead of spending hours upon hours commuting, it will allow you to have more of the most precious commodity - time! 

Just prepare yourself to explain to parents, in-laws, friends, strangers at the coffee shop, doctors, teachers, daycare providers and even some coworkers why you need childcare

Person with confused look on their face: "...but...I thought that's why you work from home...?" 

You: "That's right- I WORK from home".

5. Set your working hours
Without that physical commute to and from the office, you could find yourself working around the clock! It can be so easy to roll over and check work email right from the comfort of your bed. No. Resist the urge - it can wait and it will wait. Set your morning routine and stick with it! 

Maybe you like to go for a run, sip coffee on your deck, read a few extra books to the kiddos, or use the time to throw dinner into the crock-pot for an easy evening.  Your morning routine sets you up for a successful day, so stick with it! 

Know when you're done for the day and be strict about switching from work to home mode. The evening time is for you to unwind, take care of things around the house, chat with your hubby, or pass out at 8pm while putting the kids to bed! It's all about setting boundaries.  After all, you are the owner of your work life balance.