Common Ground Spearker Series

Common Ground is a symposium brought on by a bunch of Bay Area private schools to further enrich parent education. The speaker series brings in many experts from a wide variety of fields related to raising children, education, and health topics (many progressive in nature). All member school parents are free to attend any of the speaker series, and guests from an outside school can attend for a $20 fee. Even if your child doesn't attend a member school, the $20 fee is worth the free food (private schools have the best grub, seriously), and the speakers are pretty good, too ;0)

Some examples of past speakers:
I'm a huge fan of Drs. Sapolsky and Pope, and was bummed to miss their lectures, but Rick Lavoie was entertaining, insightful, and I really enjoyed his book about social pragmatics and learning disabled kids.


Friendly Feeding Finds

Alexander got a set of these Bambu baby utensils in his stocking this past Christmas, and we're really enjoying them. They're small enough to fit in his hand comfortably, the texture of the wood grabs onto apple sauce without sliding off (even the fork!). The spoon has a slightly raised lip to make getting food out of a jar easier, too. They are made from bamboo which is a renewable resource, they're organic, all natural with no dyes, and look really cute.

I LOVE Sigg water bottles. Both my kids like drinking from these eco-friendly, BPA free reusable Swiss containers. You can put almost any type of liquid in them, they come in a variety of mod designs, and are virtually indestructible. The inside coating resists bacteria and is leach-free. Oh, and they make great gifts, too!

For both my kids I chopped, steamed, baked, roasted, seasoned, pureed, portioned, and froze my own organic baby food. It was awesome...NOT. It was a time consuming mess...but I did it, and enjoyed the end result even if I didn't like the loads of dishes waiting for me in the sink. The nutritional advantages of fresh-frozen babyfood compared to jarred are marginal, but the taste advantages are blatantly apparent if you just try the stuff yourself (jarred peas are nasty). Another great benefit to pre-packaged fresh-frozen is these manufactures test for nitrates in veggies like spinach and carrots. So making your own baby food is great and economical, but there are times when store-bought, pre-packaged baby food comes in handy....

Happy Baby makes 1 oz portioned cubes that pop out so you can add as many as you need (Alexander was obsessed with their spinach/pear combo). Plum makes great single serving containers that pack well in the diaper bag. I'd grab one in the morning on my way out the door, and it'd be thawed by the lunch time.

All of these products are available at Whole Foods.