Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Charm Story

Mother's Day is just around the corner and I'm so excited to have discovered the Charm Story line of personalized charms from Things Remembered since it makes for a beautiful, thoughtful and personal gift which all mothers and grandmothers will appreciate.


First, select the starter bracelet or the starter necklace (for just $20) and then add charms from the long list of themes, shapes and designs available. Select from the dog tag, star, heart, flower, butterfly, sea shell, or birthstone charms. They can each be personalized and some even have slots for photos.

Things Remembered Personalized Gifts

Things Remembered has several keepsake items that can be personalized for special occasions and for those special people in your life. Mother's Day is May 10th. Be sure to honor your favorite Mom this year with a keepsake she'll never forget - and will can't wait to show off!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I am always changing my image. If you saw me on a regular basis, you'd see me one day in my casual beach clothes, flip-flops and shorts, tank tops or tee. The next day you might see me in business attire, glasses and high heels. Some may even recognize me in my work out clothes, heading to the gym for a session with my trainer. And still there are those who have seen me a little more trendy, wearing a cute skirt and adorable top, an outfit typically reserved for a first date.

My point in all of this is that I like change. Too many times I have found myself stuck in a routine that makes me feel trapped, and while my blog has been quite popular (950 + unique visitors per month), I feel it's time to move on.

So, starting this week, I'm blogging over at a new site. Everything's been imported already, so if you head on over to the new URL, you'll be able to read all of my posts from the last 18 months but you'll also discover a new look, which may take some getting used to, by both myself and my readers.

Head on over and please leave a comment so that I know who's reading and that you found me!

Here's to a fresh start.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Moms Really Think about Grandparents!

A few months back I was asked to provide input for an article that Susan Avery was putting together for Grandparents.com. She asked for my opinion on whether or not my mom or mother-in-law interferes or if I could offer some general advice for grandparents.

I was happy to share my two cents, which appears in her slide show, along with over a dozen other suggestions from some pretty amazing Mommy Bloggers.

Here's a list of the bloggers who are included in the slide show and whom I am honored to be listed alongside:
Some highlights from the advice to grandparents (in my opinion):
Don't poo-poo your kid's parenting rules, especially when it comes to safety. While you likely did a fine job raising children without such modern gadgets as car seats, door gates, and electrical outlet covers, your kids are relying on solid modern data — and in some cases, laws — to make their safety decisions. And frankly, they're just trying to do what they think is right for your grandchildren.

The grandparents want to send cash in an envelope for a 7-year-old's birthday. This is like a non-gift to a kid. Instead? Schedule an afternoon, just grandma and granddaughter. Go get a milk shake. Nothing else. Just time.

Grandparents, be young again with your grandkids. Get on the floor and roll around with them, even if you need help getting back up. If you're in a wheelchair, take them for rides! You don't have to spend a lot of money to make memories. Play checkers. Bake cookies. Go fishing. Read stories. Dress up. Catch fireflies. Eat ice cream. Let your grandkids see the silliest parts of you.

All I really want from you is the opportunity to nap. Just come over, take control of your grandchildren and send me to my room. That's truly all I want from you.
Now, my advice to you, after reading this: Go call your grandparents.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honoring Mother Earth

I sent out the Happy Healthy Hip Parenting News You Can Use earlier today in which I discussed ways in which people are honoring Earth Day.

My son's pre-kindergarten classroom has taken on the challenge of not using electricity for a total of 24 hours (both at home and in school). This is quite a challenge, since parents were asked to send food that didn't require the microwave and during peaceful time when they typically listen to soothing music, they're now resting in total silence. And yes, their classroom has moved to the outdoors since they can't do as much inside without lights!

At home tonight, the TV will remain off but the biggest challenge I see - for both my son and I - is the use of our computers. Technology has evolved to the point where I truly rely on my laptop for pretty much everything (that my iPhone cannot do). My son enjoys playing games on the computer, whether it's online at Hot Wheels.com, NickJr.com or using Garage Band to create music, which means we'll pull out board games and head outside to enjoy nature.

Another challenge for me,with the heat being near the 80s today, is the idea of sitting inside without the use of fans or air conditioning.
If nothing else, this challenge has made me more aware of how reliant we are on electricity to simply get through our day. The highlight for me though has to be the idea of not cooking since I'd have to use the stove for that!

How is your family honoring Mother Earth today - and every day?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Collection for babies and toddlers

With the tea parties going on around the country yesterday, I couldn't help but think of Tea Collection Children's Clothing, an amazing line of clothing for young people that has me wishing they created clothes in my size!

Check out this designer couture for little citizens of the world.

Tea Collection Children's Clothing for Kids ages 0-8 years

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Children with Special Needs

Working with families and getting to know children and parents personally has allowed me the opportunity to truly see how different each and every one of us truly are.

Snowflakes, fingerprints and yes, people are so unique and diverse that I find pleasure in observing others and witnessing the wonderful and dynamic individuals who will be the leaders and pioneers of the next generation.

Because every child is different, I have always felt that each child has special needs that need to be acknowledged and addressed. I'm not talking about children with developmental or physical challenges that require specialized care. I'm simply referring to the fact that parents, educators and anyone dealing with children on a regular basis really needs to understand the child and validate who they are, as we are all created equal, and perfectly.

No two children are exactly alike, as anyone with more than one child will confirm. Even those with twins - both fraternal and identical - will appreciate the distinct differences that make each child their own person. Our job as their role models and support system is to honor those differences, allow children to make healthy choices that not only encourage their independence, but their creativity and curiosity.

As a parent coach and parent educator, I work with families to be able to truly "see" their children and to provide suggestions and ideas for them to feed their children in ways that will increase their energy, instead of diminish it. I advise moms and dads about ways in which they may be putting false expectations on their child - or themselves - based on the accomplishments, goals or desires of another.

To begin to see ourselves and our children for who we really are is one of the greatest gifts we can provide for ourselves and our loved ones. Through parenting courses and working one-on-one with families, let's discuss the special needs of your child and how we can begin to make life less stressful and create more peace in our home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How I really feel about GM: The ultimate test-drive

I purchased my ticket to BlogHer at the end of February since I knew that it would eventually be sold out, like it had been in the past. I was able to get in before the price went up but I had no idea how I would get to Chicago or who I'd end up hanging out with. All I knew is that I had to be there this year.

Money is always an issue for single moms, but this year, especially, I've been watching my spending and limiting any unnecessary expenses. So, when Rockin' Mama contacted me about joining her carpool, I said, "Yes," right away. I mean, I agreed so quickly that she had to ask me several times if I wanted to think about it.

These are the sorts of things that one should not think about for too long, or all of the negative aspects of driving cross-country in the middle of the summer start to take precedence above all other thoughts. For example, stinky feet and armpits at 80 MPH is worse than slow-moving BO. Trust me - I've driven across the country before.

Exactly ten years ago this June, I picked up and moved to San Diego with my girlfriend. The two of us and her sister drove from Western Wisconsin to San Diego with a 17' U-Haul truck. My friend's Mustang was pulled along behind on a lift.

I'll share the whole story another time but for now, just know that after that experience, I vowed to never again drive cross country in anything other than a car, truck or mini-van.

Mommy Mandy will be joining Rockin' Mama and I (aka Hip Mom) as we trek from Southern California, through NV, AZ, UT, CO, NE, and IA before reaching our final destination. in IL. Traveling in such tight quarters with people we barely know is bound to create a bit of drama and, although I don't consider myself high maintenance (all of the time), it should definitely make for an interesting ride.

It is expected to take us a few days to get there (2,065 miles) and we'll be blogging on our respective sites about the journey. If you know of some good places to stop in the cities and towns we'll be driving through, please let us know. We'll be looking for some great little restaurants to make us some yummy and healthy meals. We'll also be recruiting volunteers to invite us to their house for dinner, or inside for potty breaks.

As for our vehicle, GM is, once again, the sponsoring carpool provider for this year's BlogHer conference, so we'll be able to test drive one of their Chevy vehicles - in every sense of the word. We'll also be testing each other's limits so stay tuned for more details on when we'll be leaving and how we plan on surviving the drive without killing one another - or ourselves.

No matter what you think of GM and their role in the economy, we ask that you support us as we leave our kids behind, jump in the driver's seat (we'll be taking turns, of course) and make our way to the Windy City in, hopefully, an SUV or something big enough to carry us and all of our equipment (ie. shoes, make-up, clothing, food, beverages, reading materials, laptops, etc.).

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering - YES - we do plan on stopping in Vegas and Denver for some fun.
Sponsors interested in helping us with the cost of gas, snacks or meals & lodging should contact us ASAP. Since there's three of us recruiting, we're bound to have some pretty major investors helping us get across the states, safe and sound.

Who's in?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

There are no words...

...to describe how broken my heart is right now. I'm in tears, praying for a family whom I have never met in real life. I heard the news through Twitter and realized how quickly, and helpful, this service can be when there is news that needs to be spread.

A beautiful toddler lost her life today and her family (and loved ones near and far) are mourning the death of someone too young and too precious to say goodbye to so soon.

Madeline Alice Spohr
November 11, 2007 - April 7, 2009

Words just cannot explain how devastating it was to find out that L.A. based mom and dad Heather and Mike, lost their daughter Madeline today. Although Heather wrote about her daughter needing to go to the hospital just yesterday, there's nothing that could've ever prepare her (or any parent) for the death of their child.

If you are able to be Los Angeles on Saturday, April 25th, please join the walk for the March of Dimes or donate in Madeline's name if you cannot be there and please spread the word through your blog, website or on your Facebook, Twitter or other networking pages.

R.I.P. dear Madeline

Friday, April 3, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day with All New Materials

Earth Day is April 22nd and in celebration, All New Materials is offering special pricing on all in stock merchandise from the Our Children's Gorilla collection for the entire month of April.
anm newsletter header
Our Children's Gorilla is a line of environmentally friendly toys, room decor and unique accessories from Sweden. Artist designed and made out of carefully selected materials that are of exceptional quality and earth friendly. Many OCG items are prominently featured in the new Thames & Hudson book Designed for Kids by Phyllis Richardson.
Our Children's Gorilla Logo
Celebrate Earth Day all month long by bringing in some unique items from the Our Children's Gorilla collection!

View or download an Our Children's Gorilla CATALOG: here
View or download the Our Children's Gorilla Eco-friendly FAQ: here
View the official Our Children's Gorilla WEBSITE:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War

In light of the interest First Lady Michelle Obama has generated with her recent visits to military bases around the country, many Americans are asking themselves what they can do to help local military families.

Alison Buckholtz is the wife of an active-duty Navy pilot who recently returned from a seven-month deployment in the Persian Gulf, and is now preparing for a twelve-month tour in Bagdad. Alison is author of Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War (Tarcher/Penguin), to help raise awareness about National Month of the Military Child.

She has also created the two-minute video “Homecoming Day” documenting the emotional reunions between military children and their parents: http://www.standingbybook.com/Homecoming.html.

“5 Things Anyone Can Do to Help a Military Family”

Help mow the lawn or shovel snow. Seasonal outdoor tasks that may typically have been done by the deployed servicemember are sometimes overwhelming to a spouse parenting alone.

Suggest starting a school carpool. If the military spouse has more than one child to bring to school in the morning, or has to get to work on time, a shared ride will be a welcome relief.

Offer to babysit. Spouses of deployed servicemembers desperately need time to themselves -- it doesn't have to be a special occasion!

Propose to be their emergency contact or general back-up. Often military families new in town don't have trusted friends who would fill this role, and spouses of deployed servicemembers often worry about what might happen to their child if they can't be reached.

Offer to play favorite games and activities with the children of the deployed servicemember. Boys and girls who might be used to playing sports or doing arts and crafts with their deployed parent miss their usual activities -- and though family friends can't take the place of a parent, these outings can be a welcome distraction.

Alison Buckholtz is the author of "Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War” (Penguin/Tarcher). She has written about her experiences raising a military family in The New York Times, Real Simple, Parents, and Salon.com.

More information: http://www.StandingByBook.com.