A Year to Do Good

If you're anything like us, the dawning of the new year likely brings to mind thoughts of resolutions ... whether or not you actually intend to make them, let alone keep them. This year, instead of resolving to shed those ten pounds, finally get your house organized or run that well-intentioned marathon, resolve to simply do good: good for others and good for yourself.

Throughout the year, The Mom's Dish will periodically bring you tips and tidbits designed to help you do just that. So in celebration of New Year's Eve and in anticipation of all that 2009 may hold, here's a tip to get you started.

TOMS Shoes for Tomorrow

In times of economic woe, philanthropic giving can sometimes be a bit difficult to finance. But now you can do good simply by buying a pair of shoes to clad your little ones footies. Purchase a pair of TOMS Shoes, and the company will give one pair to a child in need: One for one. Founded in May 2006, the company has since given more than 10,000 pairs to kiddos in Argentina and more than 50,000 to tots in South Africa. So get shopping now at www.tomsshoes.com.

Top Docs "Love List"

It's been a long timing coming, but the results of our first-ever Top Docs "Love List" are in. Each pediatrician was nominated by local moms just like you, and the following line up boasts the ones you can't live without. So whether you're a soon-to-be mommy searching for a doc, a busy mama seeking a new care provider, or a friend hoping to provide other moms with tried-and-true recommendations, look no further ... we've got the lowdown on the best kiddie docs in Funky Town.

Dr. A Eric Benzick
Southlake Family Medicine
731 E. Southlake Blvd., Suite 100
Southlake, TX 76092
Real Mom quote: "They have a great team of pediatricians. Dr. Benzick is very thorough and very detail oriented. I also love Dr. Erica J. Zwernemann. They are always, always on schedule. Great office management and wonderful staff."

Dr. Walter Halpenny
6401 Harris Parkway, Suite 100
Fort Worth, TX 76132
Real Mom quote: "I really feel like he is there for the kids and has their best interest in mind. He likes to rush my questions a little, but I guess that's the same as any other doctor! He is not taking any new patients and apparently has been full for some time. I think that speaks for itself."

Dr. Mark Jones
Fort Worth Pediatrics
1108 South Henderson
Fort Worth, TX 76104
Real Mom quote: Dr. Jones is a young doctor who has young children himself and can relate to today's medicine. His wife breastfed their kids, so any time I had a question about that he was able to answer me personally based on their experiences. I enjoy that his nurses are very helpful and don't act bothered by the first time mom questions; they also never try to rush me."

Dr. Frank McGehee
Cook Children's
1129 6th Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76104
Real Mom quote: "Dr. McGehee came highly recommended and for good reason. He has a handful of children of his own, one with special needs, so he's especially sensitive to special-needs kiddos. He's also exceptionally considerate and respectful of moms who have legitimate, informed concerns about the AAP's vaccination schedule. He has graciously accommodated our request to follow Dr. Sears' alternative vaccination schedule, and he suggested cod liver oil as a natural alternative to synthetic vitamins. He is also constantly informing us of advancements and new pediatric findings."

Rebecca E. Olvera, M.D.
Cook Children's
6210 John Ryan Drive, Suite 104
Fort Worth, TX 76132
817.294.7578 phone
Real Mom quote: Awaiting quote.

Dr. Pierre Robert
Baylor Medical Plaza
1600 W. College, Suite LL60
Grapevine, TX 76051
Real Mom quote: "His office is located in Baylor Grapevine Hospital where I delivered, and we love him!"

Dr. Audrey Rogers
Cook Children's
3200 Riverfront Dr., Suite 103
Ft Worth, TX 76107
Real Mom quote: "I love this family of doctors. ... What makes Dr. Audrey set apart is her information, knowledge, her caring nature and the way she stresses things to you. If you are up all night with the baby, she will tell you flat out why and how to change it. Believe and trust her. I did and I promise my baby and my family are better for it."

Dr. Ben Worsley
Fort Worth Pediatrics
6401 Harris Parkway, Suite 100
Fort Worth, TX 76132
Real Mom quote: "He is fabulous. He takes a lot of time to answer all of your silly questions and never feels rushed. He's a young guy with kids of his own, which I appreciate."

Celebrate Fall

Fall in Texas is such a short-lived occasion, so get the tots out to enjoy the season while you can with a trip to the Pumpkin Patch of Flower Mound. Boasting acres and acres of pumpkins, fun-filled activities and food and drink vendors, the pumpkin patch is what Halloween dreams are made of. Let your little ones roam through hundreds of pumpkins while searching for the perfect one, enjoy a trip around the grounds on a hayride, launch a mini pumpkin at the catapult or burn some energy in the bounce houses. You can even pack a lunch and enjoy dining alfresco at one of the provided picnic tables. Admission is free, and patrons can visit daily anytime from 9 am till dusk. Large groups are welcome with advance reservations.

The pumpkin patch is located at:
Double Oak Ranch
5100 Cross Timbers Rd
Flower Mound TX 75028

You Tell Us! Funky Town's Best Kid Docs

We want to hear your thoughts on Fort Worth's best pediatricians. Who couldn't you live without? Who do your friends rave about? Shoot us an e mail with the pediatrician's name, phone number and address, as well as why you and your children love the doc (multiple recommendations are welcome). We'll compile the results and post them in our first-ever Mom's Dish Love List. The "Kid Docs" Love List will be the ultimate go-to resource featuring the best mom-approved pediatricians. So sound off today! We'd hate to leave that fave of yours off the list.

E mail recommendations to: TheMomsDish@yahoo.com no later than Friday, Sept. 19.

Image courtesy of stock.xchng.com; photo by alaasafei.


If you're anything like us, you've probably discovered that the role of motherhood leaves you with little time for leisure web surfing. When the little one(s) go down for a nap, you're lucky to get 20 minutes to check e mail and click a few sites before tending to a host of other duties that can only be accomplished sans children. So to help maximize your online browsing/shopping, check out MomFinds. Founded by Michelle Madhok--the style columnist for and a contributing editor for MSN Shopping, Cotton Incorporated and the American Heart Association--this savvy site searches the Internet to find the best deals for in-the-know, hip moms. MomFinds then sends their findings in a weekly e newsletter to thousands of readers in the US and abroad. When available, they also send valuable, money-saving coupons. Visit the site today to sign up for the weekly newsletter and turn your scant Internet time into a productive online shopping jaunt.

Plug in to MOPS!

Looking for a place to experience real spiritual growth, break away from the little one(s) and connect with like-minded moms? Then look no further than MOPS International. Founded in Colorado by eight women in 1973, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) exists to emphasize the fact that "mothering matters" by providing support groups for local moms, as well as various resources. The organization boasts more than 3,900 groups across the U.S. and in 35 countries. Each local group meets regularly to support and encourage mothers with children aged birth through kindergarten to be the best mom possible. There's a robust handful of MOPS groups within the Fort Worth area; to find a group nearest you, click here then click on Find a Group in Your Area Now!

To view the current issue of MOPS publication, MOMSense magazine, click here.

Green Your Diaper Routine

Whether you're the ultimate green maverick or simply a mom who's concerned about providing the healthiest environment for your little one, taking small steps to a greener diaper routine is something we can all cheer. That's why we love the concept of homemade baby wipes (because let's be honest, though it's noble, the thought of replacing disposable diapers with cloth is a bit overwhelming).

To make your own at-home wipe solution, follow this recipe, excerpted from Green Baby by Susanna Marriott. Simply spritz this cleansing lotion onto paper towels or washable cloths, and you have a green alternative to the chemical-laden mass-manufactured wipes.

1) Pour boiling water into a teapot containing two chamomile tea bags. Let the tea steep for 15 minutes.
2) Combine 1 tbsp hemp oil with 1 cup of the warm tea. If baby is older than 1 year, add 1 tbsp pasteurized clear honey and whisk well to combine.
3) Fill a reusable spray bottle (glass is best) with the solution and shake well. Use immediately, or once completely cooled, store in the refrigerator.
4) At diaper change time, spray the solution onto the cloth or paper towel then use as you would a store-bought wipe. Make a new batch every few days and keep refrigerated.

You can also find two additional homemade wipes recipe by visiting: http://www.christian-mommies.com/ages/babies/homemade-baby-wipes.

The Sweetest Thing

Baptisms, dedications, birthday parties, baby showers ... we love any reason to celebrate. And now your celebratory occasions can be even sweeter with charming sweet treats from Fort Worth's first cupcake shop, The Cupcake Cottage. Owned by husband-and-wife duo Sandra and Juaquin Bradshaw, The Cupcake Cottage creates delectable cakes in such scrumptious flavors as banana, cinnamon chocolate, cookies and cream, kahlua, red velvet and more. Each cake is topped with fresh buttercream frosting, and the tiny treats are made with preservative-free ingredients, including fresh fruits and unsalted butter. Bon appetit!

5015 El Campo Ave.
Fort Worth

Work it Out!

Losing those post-baby pounds can be a difficult, often daunting task. As badly as we'd like to don our skinny jeans again, finding the time and energy it takes to squeeze in a workout can seem impossible. But now you can get in shape, spend fun time with your little one and make new mommy friends, all with a workout. Created by a mom and renowned fitness expert, Lisa Druxman, M.A., Stroller Strides is a total fitness program that includes power walking and toning. Each class is taught by a trained instructor. Several classes are offered in the Fort Worth area. Visit Stroller Strideswww.strollerstrides.com for class locations and additional information.

Taters for Tots

For charming, one-of-a-kind onesies, tops and pants, we can't get enough of Potato Playground. The colorful threads feature bold, graphic images, which are ingeniously created using potatoes. The taters are first carved into various shapes and are then utilized as stamps. Because each design is hand-stamped, no two clothing items are alike. The designs are printed on 100% cotton garments by American Apparel, a Los Angeles-based company that enforces fair-trade practices.

In addition to the adorable wearables, the company was founded by three stay-at-home moms, and we love supporting the ingenuity of creative, crafty moms! Visit www.potatoplayground.com to browse the delightful designs!

Musically Inclined

Tune your little one into the sound of music with TCU's Early Childhood Music classes. With seven different classes to choose from, your preschooler will be able to discover a symphony of delightful play while bonding with mom and other playmates. For the youngest tots, check out Music Together Babies for infants 0 to 8 months, Music Together Mixed Ages for youngsters 0 to 4 years, and the Preschool Class for 3 to 4 year olds. Older children will enjoy Music Makers: Around the World for 5 to 7 year olds, Music Makers: At the Keyboard I & II for 5 to 7 year olds, and Pre-School Piano Readiness for 4 and 5 year olds.

Open registration begins August 5. Register online by visiting www.musicprep.tcu.edu (or clicking the title link) or call 817.257.6134. To find out more about the Music Together program, visit www.musictogether.com or call 800.728.2692.

Bold Textiles for Little Citizens


For bold, artful, mix-and-match children's knitwear, check out Daily Tea, a collection of stylish , playful wear for little citizens of the world. Daily Tea's pieces are inspired by various regions around the globe, and the clothing boasts colors, patterns and textures beloved the world over. The collection can be viewed at www.teacollection.com (click the title link to be redirected there). Check the site daily for their Every Day Deal, and shop online now to save 75% off select summer styles. Also enter promotion code tcard20 to get 20% off your first purchase.

You can also find Daily Tea at BabyBliss in Snider Plaza (6721 Snider Plaza, Dallas) or in the Southlake Town Square (1243 Main Street).

Tech-Savvy Mama

For all you tech-savvy mamas who love posting pics of your little ones online, check out the PictoBrowser from the photo-sharing web site Flickr (www.www.flickr.com). This tool allows users to create a gallery that can then be shared on your personal web site or blog. We love that it's interactive and presented in a graphically appealing format.

To create your own PictoBrowser gallery, create an account at Flickr, then simply upload your images and save the images you want to post as a "Set." Then click on the Link that says "PictoBrowser" in the bottom right hand corner of any PictoBrowser gallery. We've posted a gallery below, so you can simply click on the link here. A pop-up window will appear requesting your Flickr username. Enter the info, then select the "Set" you want to post. You can then copy and paste the HTML code into your blog or web site.

Capture Those Fleeting Moments

Camera savvy or not, we don't know a single parent who doesn't become a shutterbug the instant they meet their little one(s). Once we lay eyes on those tiny toes, little fingers and that angelic face, we can't put the camera away. Knowing they will grow so quickly, we want to capture every fleeting moment. But now you can do more than than merely amass a collection of photographs. Log on to HowFastTheyGrow.com and design your own custom-crafted album. The site allows users to upload images and text to various templates. You can then order your creations, which fit standard scrapbook sleeves. The result: a professional-quality, custom-crafted album to showcase those precious moments.

Zoe + Jack

For sweet and swanky children's duds, nursery items and unique gifts for little ones, head to Zoe + Jack. Located off Camp Bowie (at 5137 Birchman Ave., Fort Worth, 76107), the charming store stocks a variety of wares you won't find at other baby stores. We were especially thrilled to find Baby Soy, a Pasadena-based brand that creates onesies, cardigans, tees, pants, bibs, blankets, hats and socks from organic soy fiber. The material is super soft, and the casually comfy pieces are designed to easily mix and match. And if that weren't incentive enough to pop into Zoe + Jack to stock up on Baby Soy, the price just may be: short sleeve onesies are $14, pants are $12.

Zoe + Jack: 817.989.2200 | Hours: Mon - Sat 10 am - 6 pm
You can also check out Baby Soy at www.babysoyusa.com.

99 Balloons

Thanks to a friend, we discovered this incredibly moving video today. Words can't begin to describe it. Watch this amazing story, and then hold tight your little ones and thank the Lord for the blessing of their health and their life!

Watch it at:
http://www.ignitermedia.com/products/iv/singles/570/99-Balloons or click on the title of this blog to be redirected to the site.

To Vaccinate or Not

With the vaccine debate receiving top billing in the media, it's hard to find a truly balanced, informed perspective. That's why we love The Vaccine Book, by renowned pediatrician Dr. Robert Sears (author of the Parenting Library series).

As a pediatrician, Dr. Sears acknowledges the important role of vaccines in disease prevention without negating the fact that there are some real dangers. His book reports on each vaccine in detail, giving each immunization its own chapter. Within each chapter, Sears includes information about the importance of the specific vaccine and then explains why some parents might choose to waive it. He also lists the complete ingredients in each available brand and explains why some (if any) of the ingredients might be harmful. In the end, he provides parents with one of three options: a selective vaccination schedule, an alternative vaccination schedule or the AAP's suggested schedule. The book is a must-read for any parent concerned about vaccines. Get it at Amazon.com or askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook.

Pamper Baby Naturally


With so much hype about the dangers of pesticides and chemical additives in everything from our food to our skincare to our clothing, it's no wonder concerned moms are choosing organic skincare products to smooth on little ones. One of our faves ... California Baby. Made from organic, sustainably grown, all natural ingredients, California Baby offers a complete line of washes, moisturizers, diaper care, suncare and more that is gentle enough to use on your littlest tot. Most rave worthy: the Calming Botanical Moisturizing Cream. Good for a newborn's sensitive, dry skin, the rich cream also works wonders for babies with eczema. Trust us! This tried-and-true formulation clears up even the worst cases. Get it at Target, Whole Foods and Central Market.

Luxe for Less

Every Mom deserves a little luxe, and now you can get it without breaking the bank. Just hop on over to Eyes Lips Face (e.l.f.) (www.eyeslipsface.com). The cosmetics company offers lipsticks, eyeshadows, powders, nail polishes, application brushes and more for a steal ... a sundry of items is priced at just $1. And if that weren't enough incentive to stock up on some beauty loot for the summer, just enter the code "Carolina" in the coupon code field and you'll get 50% off your entire order up to $15! Want even more? Refer three friends to the web site, and they'll send you a free gift with your order. And though you may not be able to sample the best hues, at these prices you can afford to try out various products!

The WIld Side - FW Zoo

Get the little ones out this summer and let them experience a brush with nature with a Fort Worth Zoo membership. A one-year membership costs $57 for the first adult and $37 for the second. Children (3-17) are $23 for the first child, $18 for the second and $15 for each additional kiddo (toddlers 2 and under are free). With regular admission running $10.50 for adults and $8 for children plus $5 to park, a year-long membership will pay for itself in a few visits. During the month of June, Zoo Members can beat the heat and the crowds by getting in an hour early (9 am). And with a year-long membership, you can graciously usher the kids out at any time if the heat gets stifling or the crowds unbearable with a promise to return again in a few days. It's alfresco entertainment for the little ones and a little exercise for us!