May 2012

Have Twitter, will travel...

Making friends around the world doesn't always require a passport.

I love the efficiency of Twitter. It's a great vehicle for passing along important information or the occasional 140-character rant. But that's not what I love most about the popular social network. What makes Twitter special, in my humble opinion, is the ability to meet, connect with and learn from people from literally anywhere with an Internet connection.

Let's be honest here. I'm a 33-year-old, Midwestern, work-from-home mom on a budget. The odds of jet-setting off to London, Melbourne or even New Orleans is just about as close to zilch as a number can get. I have three young boys and oodles of responsibilities that make living a life of high adventure and travel to spectacular resorts or exotic locales a little bit out of my realm of possibilities right now.

Share a long forgotten skill with your kids!

"These little things are silly and won't ever earn me a living, but my kids think I'm the coolest mom ever and nothing beats that."

Are there special skills or interests you had as a teen that you've long since abandoned? For example, in high school I was really involved in the music programs, both band and choir. I was by no means a diamond in the rough when it came to my instrumental or vocal talents, but there were other aspects where I shined. The showmanship of show choir, flag corps and even clowning around as a court jester for the madrigals group were all up my alley.


Flash forward 15 years to now. I haven't really employed any of these hidden talents for years, but every once in a while, a moment of inspiration will hit. My kids are always wowed by the random skills I picked up in high school, from Irish dancing (a' la Riverdance) to juggling just about anything that doesn't fall into the stabby or blunt force categories. These little things are silly and won't ever earn me a living, but my kids think I'm the coolest mom ever, and nothing beats that.


All Clad French skillets on sale

Stainless steel cookware is a necessity for many home cooks.  That is because a good set of stainless steel cookware can truly win the test of time.  Many cookware brands manufacture pots and pans made of stainless steel.  However, none is as universally recognized as the best in stainless steel as the All Clad brand.

If you have ever gone shopping for stainless steel cookware, then you probably already know that All Clad is considerably more expensive than other brands.  In fact, you can often get a whole set of cookware in another brand for the price that it costs to buy just one All Clad item.  However, since All Clad is the top brand, it might still be worth it to pay more for it.

Busted: Five common misconceptions about mom bloggers

Believe it or not, we're not all the same.

I live in a relatively small community, so when people find out that I'm a mom blogger, I'm often slapped around by all sorts of stereotypes and misconceptions from those who are not “Internet people.” It's amazing how narrow many folks' views are when it comes to the mom blogging community, and if they'd just hop around the net a little bit, they'd realize that we're not all carbon copies of each other.


But, since I know that would take some time, I'm just going to bust several of the mom blogger misconceptions right here and now.


Summer Fun: Tips to protect your kids from UV rays

Summer can stay fun, if you follow these safety tips.

The weather seems to be stabilizing in a warmer holding pattern, so outdoor fun is finally upon us. Since the school year is coming to an end, our kiddos are ready to hit the parks, swimming pools and backyards from sun up to sun down.

With so much fun to be had, it's important that we take precautions to keep our kids safe from the damaging rays of the sun. There's nothing entertaining about a sunburn, so taking a few simple safety measures can keep play time playful day after day.


Catch classic kids' movies on Netflix

Classic family flicks were a part of my childhood and now I can share them with my kids, too.

When I was a kid, my dad worked during the day and my mom worked at night. They always kept opposite schedules so that we'd have a parent at home. It was a great way to grow up, filled with lots of fabulous memories shared with both of them.


One of my favorite family traditions was on Friday night. After dinner, dad would take us grocery shopping with him, followed by a trip to the local video store. (Yeah, I know I'm dating myself.) He'd pick out a movie for him and then he'd let my brother and me pick out a kids' movie for all of us to watch together.


Think twice about sharing too much on the Internet

Everyone has work and family frustrations, but not everyone needs to know about them.

In a world that runs on social media, it's tempting to share work or family frustrations via blog, Facebook, Twitter or one of the other many network forums, but is it really worth the aftermath? All too often, I see friends, family and acquaintances sharing just a wee too much about something that's nagging them at home or work, and I can't help but shake my head.


Many adults have learned to sensor what they're saying to a degree, forgoing the f-bomb for classier alternatives, like flippin' and freakin', but that same shut-off switch sometimes misses commentary on sensitive home or work-related issues that would best be kept off the net. As a WAH mom and wife, I know all too well that the curves we have to navigate can fuel the itch to share a witty slam out of pure aggravation, but before I hit those keys I remind myself the few people who won't think ill of my rant aren't the only people who will be seeing what I write.


Moms take action!

We momtivists need to stick together, especially during these “Mommy Wars.”

Despite what Time magazine and so many other media outlets would have us believe, most of us moms want the same thing. A healthy planet for healthy kids. Good education, jobs, health care. A peaceful world. Since we do want these things, we should be working together and finding solutions rather than playing the blame game alongside all of these talking heads.

Here are a few ways you can help make a difference as a mother and as a citizens today.

Ideas mothers can use to entertain children during summer vacation

Mom adds fighting childhood boredom to her list of summer chores

As summer approaches, the children begin to cheer. At first, the idea of not going to school sounds ideal to them. This means no early mornings to them. No homework and no tests for them to study for during the week and weekends. Yet, as each day begins to pass, many children also realize that summer vacation also means that they aren’t stimulated, they aren’t challenged, and they are flat out bored.

This is when mom hears the famous words, “Mom, I’m bored. There is nothing to do.” This is why many moms are already making lists of things that they can do to help their children fight that boredom during this year’s summer vacation. What are some items that may be on their lists?

First, on many lists are some simple chores and basic skills that mom plans on teaching her children.   Yes, summer vacation is the perfect time to teach your child some basic cooking skills, gardening, skills, landscaping skills and household chores that they may not know. What you teach them will depend on their ages.

If the children are really young, you can teach them how to make simple sandwiches and drinks, as well as simple household chores. Once they master these chores and skills, you can assign them as scheduled chores that they must do. This can occupy part of their time.

Turn Leftovers into Snack Time Art

Don't let odds and ends go to waste, let your kids get creative.

In most cases, moms don't encourage their kids to play with their food, but every once in a while it can be a fun activity. Snack times can be fun for the whole family when creativity meets healthy munchies.


When it's getting close to shopping day, do you find that you have a lot of bags and containers of leftovers, fruits, veggies and snack items? There isn't enough for everyone to have a full portion, but you don't want to play favorites or let them go to waste. What's a mom to do?


Do bloggers who beg for Facebook "likes" drive you crazy?

Before you "unlike" them, it's important to know why they're asking.

If you're a Facebook addict like me, you've probably noticed the growing trend of bloggers begging shamelessly for likes, shares and comments on their posts. Some are trying to reel you in by promising a giveaway when they reach certain numbers, while others seem to start every status update with “Like this if....”


Do you find this as obnoxious as I do? Probably. But, there's a reason for the madness. It's not to stroke the egos of the people writing the posts, even though it may seem that way. The true motivation behind the pan-handling for engagement from readers is two-fold.