Because I Just Can’t Get Enough of This Video!

I keep finding myself watching this video every time I check a text or get a call. And my friends and family are telling me the same. So, with Little A’s permission, I am sharing it with you. I hope it makes you smile!

 

PS- I regret that I was holding my phone the wrong way… I was operating in stealth mode so I wouldn’t interrupt her groove.

 

5 Genius Ideas for Chore Charts!

My kids don’t mind helping around the house, but there is no routine- I have to ask them to do each thing I’d like help with. “L, please empty the dishwasher.” “A, please put your toys away” Feed the animals, bring your laundry down, dust your room, make your bed, brush your hair!

We’ve tried a few things in the past, but nothing has stuck. A few cute ideas have popped up on my screen lately, so I think it’s time to try something new. Here are my top picks for great Chore Charts!!

1. Clipboard & Velcro from Just Between Friends

Clipboard & Velcro Chore Chart from Just Between Friends

Clipboard & Velcro Chore Chart from Just Between Friends

This one only requires a few supplies and looks like it will come together really quickly. I love that they can be hung easily or carried around the house. I know Little A would like the concrete action of moving the chores from “To Do” to the “Done” side.

2. Post-it Note Printable Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello

Post-It Note Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello!

Post-It Note Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello!

I think this is my favorite. I’m usually not super fond of playing with our printer, but my kids have an odd fascination with Post-Its and I think this will go over really well!

3. Simple Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle

Simple Magnet Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle!

Simple Magnet Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle!

This is definitely easy and effective for younger ones, but at 16, L might be offended if I make a chart like this for her.

4.  Printable Chore Chart From The Gilded Pear

Printable Chore Chart From The Gilded Pear!

Printable Chore Chart from The Gilded Pear!

This one takes the least amount of effort and still looks great! Just choose the color you want and print!

5. Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

This one is also great- I think Little A would love moving the sticks and seeing her progress, but the board is a bit bulky.

Which ones do you like best?

Simple & Quick Scratch Ticket Bouquet!

I have spent the past 3 days with some kind of electronic device in hand, on Pinterest looking for the best way to create a scratch ticket bouquet for a fundraiser this Saturday night.

I have $100.00 to spend and I want to make it look fabulous.

I found all kinds of cool pictures, but when I click on the link to learn how to create it, there is either a dead link or a website that has nothing to do with the original picture.

I decided to figure it out on my own and  create a “how to” post so that others can read a real post about the real pictures :-).

I purchased a cute container with a really sweet flower on the front- no need for me to decorate!  I took it to the floral department and put a gazillion of those floral foam balls inside to see which fit the tightest.  I found one that wasn’t perfect but would work.  I had the rest of the supplies at home already so I only spent about $10.00 at the craft store.

Supplies:

Scratch tickets

Lollipop sticks or skewer sticks

Floral foam

Container of choice

Shipping tape

Crinkle cut basket filler

Cellophane

Ribbon to tie a bow

supplies for scratch ticket bouquet

supplies for scratch ticket bouquet

Tape the lollipop sticks to the back of the scratch tickets.  Be sure to not tape the bar code on the back. You want to make sure the person who wins can redeem the ticket and they won’t be able to without the bar code.  The heights can vary.

Stick the sticks in the floral foam

I had to secure the ball in place with a little tissue paper.  You don’t want the tickets moving from side to side.

sticks in floral foam

Sticks in floral foam

Cover the foam with something that looks nice. I used a little crinkle cut basket filler.

Before crinkle cut and cellophane!

Before crinkle cut and cellophane!

Wrap with cellophane, tie a bow and you are finished!

final product! Took 10 minutes to make.

Final product!
Took only 10 minutes to make.

These baskets are usually great sellers at fundraiser/auctions.

We’d love to see how yours come out! Share pics in the comments!

 

Getting Down to Business With Rosie Pope

In honor of National Poison Prevention week, Tide and Gain asked Rosie Pope to chat with fantastically cool mom bloggers like Jenn and me! (I’m sure it had a little something to do with this.) To be clear- we did not receive any compensation, but we did get the opportunity to FaceTime with ROSIE POPE and she is all kinds of awesome. Like, I want to have her over for tea and let our kids make messy artwork once a week awesome. She is sweet and genuine and really REAL about being a mom and an entrepreneur. If you don’t know who Rosie is, check her out here.

We had a lot of fun chatting and we even set up our screen to record the FaceTime interview, but we didn’t get the audio!!! (QuickTime, it really is not cool that a new screen recording, defaults to no audio!) So, while we have this adorable screenshot for you, we don’t have the fun video we had planned.

I'm pretty sure we were laughing at boobie jokes. We are super classy.

I’m pretty sure we were laughing at boobie jokes. We are super classy.

Instead, I’ll tell you all about it! We asked Rosie for her favorite advice for moms and here’s what she said:

“Remember, it’s all about phases! There will be different things to balance at different stages.”

She went on to explain that as much as we all love (some more than others) the sweet newborn phase, we would never make it out of those first few months if we didn’t all know that that phase doesn’t last forever. I can tell you, the same goes for terrible two’s and threenagers, homework hell, tween angst, etc. This woman is a sage.

Another bit of wisdom that Rosie really seems to take to heart is that (and it’s totally tweetable!):

“You can’t find balance alone” 

We all need a little help to keep things in balance. I know I need some down time on occasion, or a few hours to finish work that otherwise would be interrupted too many times to count, and I cherish the mom and dad friends of mine who host playdates, or drop their kids with me to give Little A some playtime- and me a few moments to focus. Same goes for my amazing husband, my 16 year old sweetheart of a daughter and countless neighbors and friends with whom we trade favors and rescues.

When conversation turned to National Poison Prevention Week, Rosie got down to business with really practical advice. With specific regard to cleaning products, Rosie points to Tide & Gain’s safety campaign slogan “Up, Up, and Away”

Keep all cleaning supplies – including laundry pacs – Up, Up and Away seal pacs up, store pacs up and keep pacs away.

But, it’s the advice that Rosie shares from her experience working with families and her own children that really hit home for me-

You may have heard when you were baby-proofing that you should get down on your child’s level and look at the world through their eyes. Most parents and grandparents apply this technique when child-proofing outlets, sharp corners and breakables, but Rosie reminds us to KEEP DOING THIS at each phase. When your first child starts to crawl and the house is baby-proofed, your worries are few. When baby #2 crawls into older sister’s room and finds legos and marbles, it’s a different story.

Even as a mom who gives out parenting advice as part of her daily life and work, it surprised me how strongly this last bit of advice struck me, it is that important-

Be aware of the risks in other people’s homes. Don’t be afraid to ask other parents and educate your kids.

Of course I feel comfortable asking friends and other parents if they have guns in their homes. I know there are no drugs, cigarettes or alcohol within reach of my children and their friends. I know that the few homes where I leave Little A for playdates are aware and careful of her allergies. But I have NEVER asked another parent where or how they store their cleaning supplies or taken a walk around with eyes peeled for cleaning products or other potentially dangerous chemicals. So many parents- great parents!- wouldn’t think twice about leaving the laundry soap out while they put away the rest of the groceries. Or perhaps they ask an older child to dump the dirty hockey bag into the washer while they get dinner going, and the laundry pods are left out absent mindedly. It is so very easy for accidents to happen- and even if your home is chemical-free, most homes are not. If we are comfortable enough to leave our child in the care of another person, we need to feel comfortable asking about what dangers might be in the home. And giving information or a reminder about keeping kids safe.

Please share this with your friends and family and tell us what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

True business perseverance…. Small business spotlight!

In New England we have gotten a LOT of snow.  They say this was worse than the blizzard of 78.  I heard one news reporter say Boston got over 100 inches since January 28th.

giant snowman

To say that it has been difficult to run a business is a complete understatement!  Between closing full days mid-storm, closing early, opening late,it has been a nightmare for my business and all of my small business friends.  Then when it finally stops snowing, there is the cleanup.  After the 70 inch mark, there was just no place to put the snow anymore.  The snow mounds are so high, you can barely see out of most windows.  Then there are problems that come with so much snow that you just don’t even think of, leaks that never existed suddenly appear.  Heavy snow on weak roofs have caused some roofs to cave in and collapse.  My husband had to get on our roof twice and shovel.

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

A local business in my neighborhood has had to close their business for the four weeks.  It is a dance studio called In Sync Center of the Arts.  They are one of the most well run and talented dance studios in my area.  What drew me in to this dance studio 5 years ago was how many classes they offered- not just for dance, but taekwondo, lego club, music lessons, and drama. I have four kids and I loved that all of them could take a class at once and I would get a whole hour all to myself :-). In the lobby, they have big screen tv’s that show all of the classes so you can see everyone at once.  LOVE IT!

The week before February vacation,  Insync’s next-door neighbor’s roof collapsed.  Thankfully it was empty and nobody was hurt physically.  Financially, it is devastating.  There are 5 business all in this little strip mall and they are all closed.  If I had to guess how many people were employed between the five businesses I would say hundreds.  Hundreds of people out of work because of something out of their control!  It’s heartbreaking!

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

Teri, the owner of Isync, was trying to unplug and relax for a few days during Feb vacation with her husband and kids.  She actually left her phone in her hotel room while out for dinner, only to return to hear about the nightmare she has now been living for weeks.  She had to cut her vacation short and rush home to make sense out of her new situation.  She was not allowed on the property. The electricity and gas is shut off and everything is roped off until it is deemed safe.

Most people would curl up into a ball and feel sorry for themselves, but not Teri.  She had her team up and running the next day seeking out temporary space for her business.  They brought their phones and laptops to a fabulous little coffee shop (mine 🙂 ) and worked as a team and didn’t stop until they found space that would work.

She ended up with two spaces, one by day and a high school for the night classes.  The high school is perfect because there are so many class rooms that it allows many dance classes to go on at the same time.

Amazing strength, creativity, and the drive to go on.  All admirable qualities that I believe most entrepreneurs have.  Teri has a crazy awesome team loaded with talent and is clearly flexible.

Awesome, talented staff!

Awesome, talented staff!

I am honored to be a customer of theirs and I love how they are handling this situation.

There is so much negativity and tragedy shown on the news and social media, I just had to share how a real life woman turned some serious sour lemons into delicious lemonade 🙂

insynlogo

Why Aren’t These Vocal Smoke Alarms For Sale?!

Somehow, this video of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s investigation of smoke alarms from 2004 has made a resurgence today on Facebook. It is alarming (no pun intended!) and extremely moving. It caused me to spend over an hour searching online to find a product.

In case you didn’t click the link above, or can’t watch it right now, the video shows Hank Phillippi Ryan meeting with families of fire fighters and filming nighttime testing of their smoke alarms, with frightening results. None of the children wake to the sound of the beeping alarm. OH MY GOD- they sleep right through!!! In the second half of the video, they test a (then) new kind of alarm- a vocal alarm that allows the parents to record their own voice- calmly but urgently calling their children to wake up and evacuate the home. ALL of the kids wake up and all but the child in his crib leave their rooms! By this time, I feel a bit shaky- quite emotional. seriously- I WANT THIS ALARM!!! Like, now. I’ll pay $100 and I want 2. Immediately.

Poking around online, I see that they are not currently for sale. I read several papers, including this very official study from 2006, that demonstrates the same outcome. In fact, the median time to awaken was 20 seconds in the voice alarm group compared with 3 minutes in the tone alarm group!!

WHERE THE HELL CAN I GET ONE?!

This Dateline video from 2013 features a doctor/researcher from a children’s hospital who also points to the child’s name and parent’s voice as important factors in waking the child quickly. The alarms we have in our home do have voice, but it is not my voice or my husband’s, and they certainly don’t call our the names of my children. Where is the study that shows my kids will wake up to this strange voice quicker than the beeping alarm?

I did find lots of old comments from people saying things like “well, wouldn’t the parents wake up and run to the kids anyway?” so, maybe there wasn’t enough interest in the personalized alarms until now. After seeing the videos, I’m guessing everyone I know will want one if it means their kids will wake up and get out in the event of a fire. Would you want one?

photo credit: Push and hold to test weekly via photopin (license)

Isn’t it Time to Put Pre-Prom Tanning to Bed?

I don’t know a mom or dad who doesn’t remember tanning before prom- or even just to feel some “sunshine” during a long New England winter. When I was a teen, I signed up for tanning in packages of 10 or 12 sessions at a local fitness center, at a price easily afforded on a teen’s meager budget, and I enjoyed baking in the bed or dancing in the heat to the too-loud music in a booth for 8-12 minutes.  Having never sunburned in my life, I didn’t give a thought to the dangers of the concentrated UV rays penetrating my young skin. No parental permission was required and, although that has changed in some states, it’s not enough.

At the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December, I met Meghan Rothschild, a vibrant and beautiful Marketing & PR Manager and Melanoma survivor. Meg told me the frightening story of her diagnosis and treatment. At age 19, she mentioned to her doctor that a mole on her abdomen was itchy. The doctor thought it looked “a little funny,” so it was removed and biopsied. Two weeks later, Meghan was told that she had Stage 2 Malignant Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Her head reeling from the news, she headed in for surgery to remove eight lymph nodes, which left her with four disfiguring scars. Luckily for Meghan, her cancer was caught early and she was declared cancer-free after her surgery. She was now a survivor, but also a 20 year old covered in disfiguring scars, knowing that her own choices- her own pursuit of beauty through tanning- had led to her nightmare. Meghan is as tough as she is beautiful, so it’s no surprise that her next step was to share her experience to help spare others. Eleven years cancer-free, she is an outspoken advocate for Melanoma education and prevention and is the spokesperson and marketing & PR manager for Melanoma Foundation New England.

According to a 2014 study by Wehner and colleagues, more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer may be related to indoor tanning in the United States each year.

On July 29, 2014 the Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to address skin cancer as a major public health concern. Lawmakers are taking notice- at least 41 states have already passed some type of legislation that regulates minors using tanning beds. Just last Wednesday, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a bill that will ban tanning beds and booths for minors, but leaving it up to states creates too much gray area. National legislation, like the laws that regulate alcohol and tobacco, would be the best way to reduce teens’ exposure to the dangerous UV rays in tanning beds. Today, Meghan is in Washington DC, with over 100 other survivors, working with MFNE, Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society to push for national tanning legislation to protect others from Melanoma and other skin cancers.

As parents, it’s our job, not only to apply sunblock to our babies, but to educate our teens and ourselves about sun safety. As my 16 year-old excitedly plans for her prom- she already has her gorgeous dress!!- I’m happy to say that tanning will never be on her to-do list!

Check out your state’s tanning laws here. To learn more about preventing Melanoma, visit MFNE or Melanoma Research Foundation.

Meghan Rothschild, in DC to speak about Melanoma and push for tanning legislation.

Meghan Rothschild, in DC to speak about Melanoma and push for tanning legislation.

How to Not Build a Closet (Or, as Babble Titled it, Do We Unconsciously Pressure Our Kids to Grow Up Straight?)

I’m honored to be published again on Babble.com. This is an important topic and I’m anxious to hear about your thoughts and experiences, so please read, share and post in the comments!

❤M

 

We Fell in Love Online

I know plenty of people who have successfully found love through online dating. I even know some folks who have grown their families by starting the adoption process or the search for a sperm donor online. It never occurred to me that we would fall in love online, but we did.

To complete our family, I had envisioned a picturesque sunny day- our whole family walking into a shelter and playing with pups until the perfect little girl- playful, sweet, tough, but not mean- would shine through the rest. That never happened. Instead, as I dreamed of the pitter patter of little paws and the giggles I knew I’d hear as my children played with our future family member, I stumbled onto petfinder.com and shared pictures of cute canines with my husband (who wasn’t yet 100% on board.) On the third or fourth night I spent this way, I literally fell in love at first sight with the cutest little brown-eyed face- and I couldn’t get her off of my mind. Andy felt the same tug at his heart and I jumped at the chance to make something happen.

AllYouNeedIsLoveAndADog

It turns out, this sweet girl was a rescued pup, staying with a foster family in Tennessee. The rescue organization was really helpful. We all wanted to make sure that this pup was placed with the right family. We had 3 children and 2 cats and needed everyone to be happy and comfortable. Not only did they send photos and video via email, but Ginger’s foster mom and I had several phone conversations and then we received more video footage. Because she had been in a foster home, the organization was able to tell us a lot about her temperment and confirm that she was good with cats, small children, and other dogs.

On November 19, 2011, we drove to NH to meet the truck transporting Ginger and the other dogs who were rescued from high kill shelters. She instantly became part of our family- snuggling and playing with the kids, enjoying long walks and hikes and eliciting endless giggles from ALL of us with her silly antics and playful personality. My son would snuggle her after a long or hard school day and feel better about whatever had been bothering him, and since we lost Josh this summer, she has helped us all through. She’s extra snuggly when she knows we need the extra love and she’s silly and playful to make us laugh and smile. I can not say enough how thankful I am to have this sweet pup as part of our family.

This dog never runs out of kisses!

This dog never runs out of kisses!

If your family has a little more love to share and you’re thinking of adopting a dog, consider adopting through a rescue organization. Check some out here or use Petfinder, Rescue Me or Adopt A Pet.

-M

One of My Favorite Quotes…

ItAlwaysSeemsImpossible

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. As a mom, it speaks to so many things. Some days, it refers to the dishes or laundry. Right now, in Boston- it’s the snow removal.

-M