Friday, March 19, 2010

Gloucester County Times

Military families aided with baby goods

March 19, 2010

MANTUA TWP. Most moms count on the loving support of family members and the generosity of a baby shower to help them welcome a new little one into the world.

But at eight-months pregnant and living on McGuire Air Force Base for the past seven months, Staff Sgt. April Halloway said she doesn't have that opportunity this time around.

Halloway, who is a month away from delivering her third child, said she was "like a kid in a candy store" Thursday morning when she and her husband came to a Gloucester County College building on Blackwood-Barnsboro Road to pick up a brand new crib, changing table and bedding for their new addition.

"We think this is great," Halloway said as she carried the bedding out to her husband who was waiting in their car.

The couple, and many other military couples, families, and wives whose husbands are still serving abroad, traveled to Mantua Township Thursday morning to pick up the donations.

The support was organized by Operation Homefront, which collaborated with LaJobi Inc, of Cranbury, and CoCaLo, of California Êtwo companies who donated the furniture and bedding.

There were 200 cribs, 200 changing tables, and bedding for all of it, stacked up in the empty garage space at the former Gloucester County parks and recreation building.

Men and women in fatigues, and moms holding baby carriers and toddlers hands, worked steadily to move the furniture into vehicles.

It's eased the burden for the LaRaia family, of Mount Holly. Kelly LaRaia said her husband Thomas is serving in Iraq with the 87th civil engineering squadron and won't be home until May. They have two daughters, two-year-old Aurora, and seven-month-old Aine. LaRaia was picking up a crib and table for the baby, and one for another military family who just had a baby the night before.

"It's 24 hours a day, every day, taking care of two kids by myself," LaRaia said of the struggle being on her own while Thomas is abroad.

Tracy Handschuh, chapter president of Operation Homefront New York/New Jersey, said the organization is happy to help out, especially knowing that some 3,000 veterans returned in the spring.

"It's so exciting to see all these new moms to be," Handschuh said as she watched the families load up their cars. For many of them, the fathers are away, and even when they return, they have financial issues to worry about, not to mention adjusting to civilian life.

"This is one less thing they have to worry about," she said.

Chic & Cheap Nursery

Design Ideas for a Neutral Baby Room
March 19, 2010
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Megan Schwartz, resident blogger at Hybrid Mom, is getting ready for baby #3 and accepted my offer to help her design her nursery. With 2 young girls, ages 2 and 4, and a baby on the way, we are tying to keep the budget as low as possible. But Megan and her new baby need a peaceful sanctuary where they can bond and I am going to help them put it together for under $1,000!

1- The entire nursery theme was based on this lovely crib set that Megan fell in love with. It’s the Little Tree 4 Piece Baby Crib Bedding Set by Migi, available from for $159.99 + free shipping. Matching Migi Little Tree Mobile and MiGi Little Tree Valance also available.

2- This set is an incredible deal! You can get the Nursery 101 by La Jobi 3 Piece Nursery Set, which includes Deluxe Convertible Crib, Changing Table and Dresser in Classic White, for $379.00.

3- Kiwi Squeeze from Behr Paint. This calming color will work beautifully with the crib bedding.

4- Vinyl wall decals are an excellent option for creating an inexpensive mural in you nursery. I recommended this Childrens Tree with Flower Blossoms and Owl Vinyl Wall Decal from a seller on Etsy for $70.00.

5- The Boliden Chair & Foot Stool from IKEA is a stylish alternative to a traditional rocking chair and gives this nursery a contemporary touch. Available for $99.00

6- When you find yourself sitting in your rocker with a sleeping baby in your arms and no place to put the empty bottle or book you have in your hand, you will come to realize what I discovered when I found myself in that exact position: A side table is so convenient. The Frosta Stool from IKEA is only $12.99 and makes the perfect side table for the Boliden Chair & Foor Stool.

7- A small lamp comes in handy when you need to change diapers in the middle of the night but don’t want to upset your baby with a bright light. I recommended the ALÄNG Table lamp from IKEA, available for $29.99. It’s chic, cheap and functional (I have the AL ÄNG Floor Lamp in my living room).

The grand total of this Chic & Cheap Nursery (excluding cost of paint and painting materials) is $750.97!

I can’t wait to see what this nursery will look like once it comes together.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Military families pick up donated cribs, changing tables thanks to Operation Homefront
March 18, 2010
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MANTUA TWP. — The khaki fatigues didn’t do much to hide Staff Sgt. Apil Halloway’s pregnant belly Thursday morning as she and her husband came to pick up a new crib, changing table and bedding for their third child.

The baby’s due in just about one month and Halloway, who’s stationed at McGuire Airforce Base, admits she isn’t totally prepared.

Luckily, Operation Homefront was standing by, giving out more than 200 cribs, 200 changing tables and bedding for both to dozens of military families on Thursday. The furniture was donated by LaJobi Inc, of Cranbury, and CoCaLo, of California. The pick-up was at the Gloucester County College building on Blackwood-Barnsboro Road, which used to be a county parks and recreation building.

“The economy has hit military families just like the rest of our country,” said Tracy Handschuh, chapter president of Operation Homefront New York/New Jersey. “Nationwide, Operation Homefront saw a 179 percent increase from 2008 to 2009 in requests for food assistance, so we know our military families are struggling to meet the most basic of needs.”

Providing furniture for the families gives them one less thing to worry about, Handschuh said.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Best Changing Tables

Graco Lauren Dressing Table Espresso Review
March 10, 2010
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My daughter is now 7 months old and this is the changing table we have been using since her birth. We chose this changing table because it came is espresso (to match her crib) and it was relatively inexpensive.

The height is perfect for both my husband and I, I am 5′5″ and he is 5′11″ This table is on rollers which was really nice, we started off with it in the bedroom and then after a few weeks just wheeled it into the nursery when we were ready to put her in her crib for the night. There is plenty of shelf room, I have three wicker baskets with socks and shoes stored on them, plus extra diapering supplies.

For the price I am really happy with this changing table. I don’t feel I would have benefited anymore from spending 0 on a “fancy” one. It doesn’t look cheap compared to the rest of her furniture, and serves it purpose so I give it 5 stars!

Graco Lauren Dressing Table Espresso Feature

  • Made under license by LaJobi Industries
  • JPMA, ASTM and CPSC safety certified
  • Features easily accessible open design with abundant storage space
  • Changing area equipped with built in safety strap for added security
  • Includes four sturdy rollers (two locking) for ease of mobility

Graco Lauren Dressing Table Espresso Overview

The Graco Lauren Dressing Table provides a safe and secure table to change your infant. It comes with straps to secure the changing pad to the structure. It has ample storage space on the two shelves which makes all of the products needed to change your infant readily available.