Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving. We are Thankful For YOU.

Here at Elegant Mommy we cannot be more thankful for two things.  One is the continued growth and awareness of natural parenting and the benefits that it reaps for the parent and child.  We have always advocated attachment parenting, we bring our kids to work with us, and we want to be the source of support for you, our valued customers.  Our customers, both new and continued are another source of gratitude.  You inspire us to new heights as we work on being a resource for you from everything to yours and your childrens' needs.

When we started in 2007, as a web based business and then grew from literally out of the garage and into our own store front, we knew that we couldn’t ‘just be’ another store.  We felt that the parents of Sioux Falls needed a place to comfortably learn about all the ins and outs of parenting and that not everybody needs to be ‘the perfect parent’!  Nobody is!  We’re learning and growing right beside you and your little ones, which is something we couldn’t be more thrilled about!

So, thank you, to our community.  You have embraced us  and given us the ability to provide everything from cloth diapers to La Leche League meetings to cute, gently used clothes for the mama who needs a bit of growing room for two!  Thank you also to everyone and every business that supports us and helps us get better each and every day. 

The ability to continue learning and growing is what we are forever after, for both our customers and ourselves.  Happy Thanksgiving, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and have a lovely holiday season.  We are busting at the seams with new ideas every day of how we can better serve you.  There is nothing a person can be more grateful for than to be of service.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Elegant Mommy Holiday Travel Survival Guide

Traveling does not have to end like this.
Let me take you back to the first time I had to travel with a baby, say, five years ago.  This was when my precocious Eva wailed her lungs out for the ‘what was supposed to be 6 hour but turned into 10’ journey to my mama’s house in the Hills.  See, I was silly and had read somewhere that babies LOVE car rides! I had also thought that Eva would be fine with pumped breast milk in a bottle, wouldn’t have blowout diapers in gas station bathrooms, or that I wouldn’t practically have a nervous breakdown every hour of that trip.

I think I also believed that, post pregnancy, I could hop back into size 4 clothes and be good to go.  Oh, the reality checks that new parenthood brings.  So, going on about 4 hours of sleep, off we went to go visit my mama.  I learned a few things then.  Mostly that time management flies out the window when you’ve got little ones in tow.  I can’t say that things got easier when my young son came into the picture, but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves by that point.

If you’re traveling 6 hours, 10, by train, plane, or bus, there’s ways you can manage this without begging someone for an Ativan.  Trust me.  I learned and it’s all a big measure of give and take.  With no further ado, let’s talk Elegant Mommy’s travel guide for the Holidays, 2010 style.

We travel comfy.  Namely, wearing our pajamas.

1.  PLAN AHEAD.  Seriously, make lists, pack suitcases and coolers, and plan the entire thing ahead by about two days.  Then go back through your plan and prepare for the unexpected.  Extra clothes, diapers, and rags for unexpected blow outs, throw ups, or spills.  Extra snacks in case people get picky about what they want to eat.  Extra time for about a hundred trips to the potty or to stand behind the car and silently scream so you can get back in and be sane again.

2.  DO NOT LEAVE HUNGRY.  This is especially true in my household.  All of us suffer from what I call “low blood sugar means excessively cranky syndrome’.  I get it set up the night before.  Plates and silverware out, coffee stuff ready, breakfast food as prepped as possible.  Breakfast on the road never goes as well as intended.  I remember when I was a kiddo, my parents made a point of our trips starting with breakfast at a cool local diner or IHOP, but we haven’t got the budget for that in my household.  Plus, breakfast keeps the kiddos occupied while you do a last minute check of everything.

3.  PACK TOYS, GAMES, BOOKS, AND ACTIVITIES FOR BOTH YOU & THE KIDS.  At some point, someone will whine “I’m bored.”  It’s inevitable.  There’s only so many rounds of car songs or license plate games that we can all stand.  Each of my kids has a little backpack and there’s a box of stuff we keep in the van.  I usually put five small items that they adore in their backpacks and help them whip it out at the first signs of boredom. 

Story time, with a cow and a snack.
We read books to them (the husband or I), tell stories, and when all else fails, use the portable dvd player.  We didn’t ALWAYS have a DVD player for a vehicle, when we bought our van, it came with one and it’s been a lifesaver.  We always pick a special few movies to save for when everybody needs a break.  If Owen needs a nap and Eva needs to stop asking “When will we GET THERE?” this is fail safe.  You and your travel companion need stuff too!  Books on cd, knitting, magazines, whatever you need to make your time in the passenger seat more relaxing.

4. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF ACTING LIKE A LUNATIC.  If I burst into a silly song or tell an outlandish story or start talking in pig Latin, this usually turns my kids’ attentions away from whining or arguing pretty darned quick.  Constant entertainment is the name of the game with long trips.

5.  TAKE BREAKS.  Aside from the million and one potty breaks, I do mean.  Stop and get everyone out of the car at a rest stop or other cool place to see neat stuff.  Everybody stretches, everybody yawns, everybody takes five minutes to walk around, and then we all plop back into the van and carry on.  If you can, plan your trip route so that there are a few fun places to visit on the way.

Smothee King.

 I like to stop at the Badlands to show the kiddos the neat geography and tell stories of how grandma and grandpa got lost when they were young and had to camp out with one windbreaker to sleep on, and then woke up with a rattlesnake next to them.  We also like to stop other places to act like tourists, Wall Drug, where Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up, etc.  Use our states vast natural history and show your kids!

6.  EAT REGULAR MEALS TOO.  Aside from mindless road munchies, stop off and have everyone eat something with some nutritional value.  Bags of carrots, a Tupperware of dip, apples, sandwiches, water bottles all travel well.  They also lead to a content tummy and blood sugar level.  If you’ve got the budget, stop somewhere yummy for a special burger and fries.  It is a vacation, after all.

7.  EXPECT INSANITY WHEN YOU FINALLY ARRIVE.  Take five minutes when you finally get to where you went to.  Sit down, have a mug of tea, and let the kiddos run around like crazy.  Trust me, they need it.  If you’re sick of sitting, stretch it out, take a short walk, or just hang out for a few before hauling your car load in. 

8.  FINALLY, TRY TO DO A NORMAL NIGHT TIME ROUTINE.  Yes, it is vacation but this will help everyone wind down for a relaxing night.  Eat a great meal, chat a lot, have the kiddos take a bath, read some stories, and head to bed.  You may do the same when you’re done too.  It has been a long day, after all.

**As an aside for our holiday travelers, heading places on planes or other modes of transportation.  You can fairly easily adapt a lot of this to however you are traveling.  Allow for slip ups, delays, lost luggage, etc., by planning ahead and then going with the flow.  So long as we all get there in one piece, that’s what really matters, right? 

One other thing I might mention about the planning ahead thing though is to check EXACTLY what needs to be carry-on stuff for flights with kids in tow.  Trust me, knowing ahead of time saves you major headaches and lowers stress for everyone.  Plus, having an extra set of clothes, etc, in a carry on can save you if your luggage goes to Rwanda while you head to Alaska.  Keeping everyone's appetites sated with normal food instead of airplane food helps too.

There’s this whole stigma that people hate being stuck next to kids on flights. (I’ve never been one of these people and actually always delighted when a kid got to sit next to me.)  This can be true but you must take it with a grain of salt.  How likely is it that you’ll ever see that person again?  Shrug the small stuff off, ignore them, and enjoy the trip.  It’s the holidays!**

***One last aside.  Travel safely.  As part of your planning ahead stage, please check the weather religiously.  If your car needs new tires or an oil change and there's blizzard warnings, take extra precautions.  Wait an extra day if you have to.  There's nothing that makes stress worse than traveling during bad weather.  Be safe and merry!***

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Your New Blogger: Sara Rose

Introduction blogs are always so intimidating, but as I’m new here and going to be posting very frequently, I may as well get us off to a chummy start! So, sink or swim, here I go! I’m Sara Rose and I’m a 28 year old WAHM (work at home mom). I have a degree in psychology and got minors in music and theatre. However, I decided a few years back to go for my dreams and pursue writing and being home with my kids. My husband is finishing his degree in software administration. We have two deeply cool kiddos, Eva Rose (5 going on 16) and Owen Quinn (17 months going on rock star).

The husband and kiddos last Christmas.

That’s our bland, basic stuff. I love cooking, gardening, reading, knitting, and (when I get around to it) yoga. I always kid around and say that I’m going to take over Martha Stewart’s kingdom in a younger and vastly hipper way, but we’ll see. I read a LOT and write a LOT.  I love outdoorsy stuff- camping, fishing, hiking, and rock climbing. I get the privilege of introducing my highly sheltered husband to all this. (How do you grow up in SD and NOT do that stuff?) I really, really adore my chosen careers- being a mommy & wife, writing, and helping people and/or companies with social media development.

I am blessed, while we may not be rich, being with my kids and husband more on a daily basis isn’t a luxury my own mother got. So, when I’m tired or feeling sour, I try to remember that this was my ‘dream life’ and that life is always ultimately a work in progress. I also try to remember other super moms, like my boss, Shelly, who owns Elegant Mommy, helps run a magazine, and is always doing about 500 other things too.

So, how do Shelly and I know each other? To be perfectly honest, I sought her out. I write for a few other things, one of which being the area Rural Living Examiner. Basically, I write for an online newspaper. I really like to seek out small and local businesses to spotlight and I love what she’s bringing to South Dakota. Being a fellow mama who cloth diapers her kiddo, makes homemade baby food, and generally tries to do about a million too many things, I totally identified with her.

On a slightly sane day.
I wrote about her and Elegant Mommy a few times, I help out with and write for her magazine The ‘Hood and she knows that I do social media development and writing on a freelance basis. So we meshed and decided to partner up to make Elegant Mommy the best that it can be. Elegant Mommy, to me, really taps into what the Midwestern mama is all about, back to basics, good old fashioned, but with a funky twist, parenting. We want to be the resource that is steadily relied upon for things both large and small for any parent.

With that said, I will also let you know that my favorite color is pink and that I once believed Unicorns were real. I also want to own a small farm where we make all our own food and live off the grid. Yes. Thank you for reading us here at Elegant Mommy, be sure to stop on by often, and I’m happy to be on board!
Slightly realistic pictures like this did not help me abate my beliefs in real unicorns.

Sincerely~ Sara Rose for Elegant Mommy
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

South Dakota Safe Childbirth Options

    South Dakota Safe Childbirth Options (SDSCO) is a group of people in South Dakota and neighboring states who support an expansion of childbirth options in the state of South Dakota.  It was formed in 1992 following the prosecution of a well loved and highly respected Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in the state, and a following cease and desist, ordering all direct entry midwifes to stop practicing in South Dakota, or also face prosecution.  Midwife supporters rallied around them, determined to change the laws regarding midwifes and home births.

    In South Dakota we are seeing  a large shift in the ways women want to give birth.  More are seeking out birth centers and home births.  With the laws in South Dakota, this means they must travel out of state.  Some even attempt to deliver their babies at home, unattended by any birthing professionals.  The goal of SDSCO is to change the laws so that birth centers and CPM are legal throughout the state, giving women the options they have so loudly requested.  When asked where she would like to see the group in a year, Debbie Pease, one of the group’s most active members, said “Celebrating the allowance of birth centers and CPMs in the state of South Dakota”.

    SDSCO’s main focus is being heard by legislators.  They meet with the people running for office in the hopes to educate and inform of the demand for these options.  The help write bills they hope to get passed.  Their hope is to build a closer relationship with the medical community and work together to make sure the women in South Dakota have safe options that meet the rising demands for birth centers and CPMs.

    If you also recognize the need for this revolution in our state, please, join SDSCO in their crusade to bring more options to our citizens.  There are many ways in which you can get involved with SDSCO.

1.  Go to their website: Sign up for the newsletter.
2. Follow on Facebook: South Dakota Safe Childbirth Options. Here you can see up and coming events you can attend.  You can also meet other supporters and create new ways to get the word out.
3. Attend the annual Walk For Midwives.  Check the website and face book for when this event is held.  Usually in May.
4. Spread the word! Share your feelings with your friends and family and provide them with the above ways to get involved.
5. Write our legislators.  The more they see this as a rising issue, the more attention it will get.

If you would like to attend The Politics of Birth In South Dakota, a meeting with Dr. Natalie Thiex, MPH, PhD from SDSU on why our laws need to be changed in favor of birth centers and CPM, please come to the Oakview Library in Sioux Falls (3700 E 3rd St) on Monday, November 15th at 6:30pm.  This event is FREE and open to the public.  The children's room will be available for women with children who would like to attend.

    I would like to thank Debbie Pease for allowing me to talk with her at length about SDSCO and our shared belief that SD needs more safe options for women giving birth. She is a woman of inspiration and heart.  Thank you, Debbie.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Attachment Parenting

What is Attachment Parenting?

    Attachment Parenting are parenting steps meant to create a close, respectful, and trusting bond between children and their parents, starting from birth.  It is also referred to as responsive parenting. There are 6 main parts of AP called “The 7 B’s”.  These 7 building blocks are really just the beginning, and allow you to develop your own parenting style.   Most parents begin life with their baby using attachment parenting.  The trick is to stick with it as your child becomes older.

The 7 B’s:

1) Birth Bonding-  This is the immediate relationship developed between parents (especially mom) and baby from the moment of birth.  Naturally, the majority of Mom’s time is spent focusing on baby’s needs.

2) Breastfeeding-Breastfeeding is beneficial in so many ways.  Breastmilk is the best substance for your baby.  It contains all the vitamins and nutrients necessary to give your baby the best start at life you can offer. It also creates an intense bond between Mom and baby.  You learn valuable body language cues from your baby during breastfeeding.

3) Babywearing-  Babywearing is incredibly beneficial to babies.  The constant closeness improves parent sensitivity and gives baby an increased feeling of comfort.  Babies worn in slings, wraps, and other baby carrying items are less fussy than babies who are not.  Baby wearing also increases the time your baby spends in what is called “quiet awareness”. Quiet awareness is when baby is awake and aware and comfortable with their environment.  It best promotes learning.

4)  Bedding with or close to baby- Sleeping arrangements can greatly increase your bond with your baby.  Co-sleeping gives you a night time constant touch that is comforting to baby, allowing them to sleep better.  It also gives mom the ability to be with her baby as soon as baby wakes and is hungry.  Using a co-sleeper, bassinet, pack ‘n play, etc that is set right next to the bed are also beneficial.  They allow you to simply reach out and touch your baby when they wake and are fussy, thus reducing night time anxiety. 

5)  Believe in the value of your baby’s cry- Crying is how babies communicate.  It is important to learn what your baby is telling you.  Different cries are typically very distinctive.  It is vital to the bonding process to learn the difference between a hungry, scared, or uncomfortable cry. Responding to your babies cries in a fast manner reassures your baby that you are focused on meeting their needs, increasing baby/parent trust.  Remember, babies do not cry to manipulate.

6) Beware (of baby trainers)-  Beware of advice that seems unnatural.  Attachment parenting is focused on creating and intensifying the bond between you and your baby.  Methods that seem harsh and rigid should be avoided.  You know your child best. If something in your heart tells you that a suggested method may harm the bond you have worked so hard to create with your baby, avoid it.

7) Balance-  While attachment parenting definitely encourages a focus on your baby, it is important to know when to take time for yourself.  Whether it’s a hot bath or meeting a friend for coffee, it’s vital to get time to yourself so that you can refresh yourself and better focus on baby. It’s hard not to feel guilty when we do this, but try not to.

Using these 7 B’s to create a close and intense bond with your baby will only benefit you down the road.  For more information on attachment parenting, go to .

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November Baby Wearing Workshop

When: Saturday, November 13th  2pm-3pm
Where: Elegant Mommy
49th and Western Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD

Do you have a sling or wrap but don't know how to use it? Or are you wondering what kind of carrier to get for your little one?

Come to this informative workshop on Saturday, November 13th at 2:00. There will be experienced babywearing moms to answer questions. There will also be sample slings and wraps to try on.

See you there!

November Cloth Diaper Workshop

When: Saturday, November 6th
Where: Elegant Mommy
49th and Western Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD

Come join us to answer all of your questions about cloth diapering! Find out what system might work best for your family and living style. There are seriously options for everyone so don't hesitate to stop in. No question is too stupid so get them all answered at this great event.
Moms with cloth diaper experience will here to answer questions.

Hope to see you there!!

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

*Do not mix freshly pumped milk that is still warm with milk that has already cooled.   If you would like to mix numerous pumping sessions and store in one bag, cool the warm milk before mixing.

* If you wish to add freshly pumped milk to an already frozen bag, make sure the freshly pumped milk is chilled and is less in quantity than the already frozen portion.
*Milk should always be stored in specially designed bags for breastmilk.  Look for BPA free bags.
*To avoid wasting milk, freeze in portions of 2-5 ounces.
* Be sure to date each bag, using the oldest stored first.  Make sure bags are sealed tightly.
*If you notice a soapy taste or odor after freezing, this is due to a naturally occurring enzyme.  To avoid this, put bags in a pan of water and bring to a scald.  DO NOT BOIL.  Heat until tiny bubbles rise along the sides of the pan.
*Immediately freeze breastmilk you do not plan on using within a few days. Place in the coldest part of the freezer and avoid putting bags up against the freezer wall.
Milk can be stored in a refrigerator for 3-8 days and in the freezer for 6-12 months.  Thawed breastmilk should be used within 24 hours, and breastmilk should not be left at room temperature for more than 4-6 hours.

For more information on pumping, storage, and feeding guidelines, visit:
(This site was also used for reference in this entry.)