Feb 272015
 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!My favorite day of the week! The hope, the promise, (albeit the very unlikely) dream that there will be a minute of relaxation or a snoozle of extra sleep hiding somewhere in the corners of your weekend…it could happen. Keep the fantasy alive, fellow warriors.

A few months ago, I started having a teensy celebration on my social media every Friday to recognize the day. I’m not sure anyone else is that into it, but it makes me giggle, so I’m keeping the weekly fun rolling.

Follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out the latest Friday laughs. And please share any of your own ideas for how you revel-it-up come the end of the week!

For now, smile the it’s the week is over, and go bold with a true wild mom-style move. Inspiration below!

 

 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

 Happy Friday, friends! Go enjoy!

Feb 252015
 

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!Every once in a while, I decide to be That Mom. You know, the mom who does something really cool with her kids.

It all started with an episode of our beloved Daniel Tiger. When the crew took a trek to “the crayon factory”, my children began a vivid love affair with the notion of making a visit to The Crayola Experience and have never looked back. That was two years ago.

We first visited over a year ago, and my kids were so enamored they’ve been begging to go back since. It wasn’t a hard sell, as I have very fond memories of going myself as a child with my grandparents. And while the design of the crayon box may have changed, the fact that it is an awesome thing to do with kids has not.

Throw in the fact that I might totally lose my crap if I hear the tinny tune of an electronic toy one more time while hibernating down in these arctic temps, and a chance to get out and let my kids loose on some creative play sounded beyond sweet. My husband was in for taking off so we could make a day of it, and The Crayola Experience was on!

There are crayons and markers to make, Model Magic to shape, molds to melt crayons in, colorful wax to draw with, and an entire floor dedicated to craft-making. With the live factory demonstration (we saw it twice and my kids would have happily sat through the interactive show a zillion times more) and the two-story high gynasium for kids to run wild in (a separate smaller structure for toddlers is available too), we had found the perfect cure for winter blehs.

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!

They had so much fun. The Art Alive! section left their mouths gaping; kids create digital works to be displayed on an interactive big screen–their work was being broadcast! And Doodle in the Dark lead to endless giggles. As they interacted with animated crayons and played with an interactive floor screen, I did the unthinkable: I sat down on a bench in contented relaxation and said to my husband “They will sleep so well tonight.” Bliss.

And since I’m sucker and we only do adventurous things as a family once in forever, the kids were each allowed to pick one special treat from the gift shop. Truth told, I love the gift shop: it is chock full of nifty gift ideas for creative play with lots of products you can’t find in stores. Also true? I am thrilled with my kids’ picks. The umbrella my daughter chose was perfect (I’ve wanted one for her for forever for rainy preschool drop-offs and pick-ups), and I can’t tell you how many fascinated minutes my son’s marker-maker has filled. And we’ve only made half of the markers in the kit, so lots more fun to come!

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!

Our visit to The Crayola Experience was fantastic. We made, we created, we got tons of artwork to bring home, and a boatload of fun memories were made. And then we got in the car, and my son’s first words were, “Mommy, can we go back to the crayon factory?” I think they had a good time?

Good news for you, friends? The Crayola Experience is offering an exclusive discount to my readers. To get this sweet discount, go HERE and enter code “Mom of the Year”.

Trust me, a trip to Easton is worth it. The kids will have a blast, creative genius will be sparked, and really, they will sleep like angels all night after you get home. Perfect fun for kids and parents ;)

Go get your Crayola on!

****Thank you to The Crayola Experience for providing my family with tickets to their attraction; our delight in our visit is 100% genuine!****

Feb 182015
 

This brilliant no-pedal bike solution to teaching your kids to ride a bicycle comes in 7 different colors. Find the one that is the right match for your family and get to the fun part--riding your way into Spring! Score a free one here!Every now and again, I look out the window at the endless, tedious landscape of frozen tundra and fantasize about things like flowers. And grass. And anything green versus endless sluggish grayish-white.  Surely in some world, this must exist??

But it’s coming, really. I know Spring is on it’s way. I see prompts of it’s arrival on my calendar and in the pile of sweet pretty dresses hanging in my daughter’s closet. We will get there.

In the meantime, as we await daffodils and warm rain showers, we’re hanging out with another fun reminder of warmer days with our shiny new Strider Bike.

When Strider first contacted me, I asked my husband what he thought of these bikes. He said, “If we don’t get a Strider bike this year, I’m cutting the pedals off one of our bikes so the kids can learn properly.”

Okay then…

He knew that Strider is onto an important concept: their 12 Sport’s simple, no-pedal design builds confidence and eliminates fear by allowing kids to have their feet on the ground and progress at their own pace. This unique design teaches young children balance on two wheels right from the start, avoiding developmental delays typical with tricycles and training-wheel bikes.

The age range? Perfect for toddler up to age 5.

This brilliant no-pedal bike solution to teaching your kids to ride a bicycle comes in 7 different colors. Find the one that is the right match for your family and get to the fun part--riding your way into Spring!

Huh. Apparently Strider’s no-pedal design was a super idea for my 3 and 5 year old, who are still learning to ride, especially as my son’s leg break issues have made this trickier for us. Strider’s 12 Sport model offers a bunch of features that make getting the hang of bike-riding easy and fun: there are custom grips, a padded saddle, handlebar pads, and quick release clamps (no-tool adjustment). A perfect balance of performance, options, and value.

This brilliant no-pedal bike solution to teaching your kids to ride a bicycle comes in 7 different colors. Find the one that is the right match for your family and get to the fun part--riding your way into Spring!

So we snatched up the green model (it comes in a choice of seven colors) and gave it lots of test runs in our basement--we’ll tackle the driveway when it’s a tad less snow-covered.

The thing is, my kids love it. They love the challenge it presents, but more they love that they feel capable in navigating this bike. I love that is growing their skills and improving their balance.

We’re all delighted with this bike. Also, we’re insanely ready for Spring. The good news for you? YOU can get hyped up for the warmer temps with us as I’m giving away one Strider Bike here, in the color of your choice! As long as you are 18 or above and live in the Continental United States, you are eligible to enter. Giveaway will close on 2/26/15 at 5am ET.

This is only open to my readers, so hop in on this giveaway and get ready to win! I can’t wait to share this genius, Spring-ready bike with one of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This brilliant no-pedal bike solution to teaching your kids to ride a bicycle comes in 7 different colors. Find the one that is the right match for your family and get to the fun part--riding your way into Spring! Score a free one here!****Strider provided bikes for review and giveaway purposes for this post, but my family’s delight in our new bike is 100% genuine!*****

2/27/15 UPDATE: Congrats to winner Diane B.!

Feb 172015
 

Dude, no one loved that Jimmy Fallon Saved by the Bell throw-back more than me–go Zack Morris! But this trip down Memory Lane sparked a few reflections–most notably, how dramatically technology has changed and become such a significant part of our kids’ lives.

How is a parent to responsibly handle this shift? Check the savvy new OurPact app–helpful, smart, and a teensy more modern than what Zack was rocking. I’ll let OurPact introduce themselves below; I’m thrilled to have a company committed to helping us parenting navigate the challenge of this modern, sadly Zack Morris-lest world…

********************************************************************

Zack Morris and the gang recently made an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon Show, a throwback meant to transport us to the early 1990’s, when Saved by the Bell was a favorite for all of us Gen Y’ers. You know what else made an appearance in that all-too-brief 8-minute clip? Zack’s old school cell phone; the one that included no screen and was bigger (and probably ten times heavier) than the Kindles most people read their books off of today.

It was a stark reminder of how much technology has changed in just the last 20 years. While most of us grew up with an ancient computer shared by the family in the living room, kids today are equipped with iPads and devices of their own from a young age. And often, they take full advantage of the unlimited freedom they are afforded with those devices.

In so many ways, that technology has been extremely beneficial to the way we manage our lives. Staying connected is no longer a burden or chore anymore; it is a simple part of day-to-day life. Your kids can Skype with Grandma and Grandpa from thousands of miles away, and you can work from home whenever one of your little ones gets sick with the flu. Plus, our phones are now good for so much more than just making calls.

But there are drawbacks to that technology as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time a day for kids. But most American kids are extending far beyond that limit, averaging 50 hours a week, which doesn’t count the screen time they are getting in school. You might be wondering what the problem with that is. After all, we want our kids to be proficient with technology so that they can grow to be successful in this ever-changing landscape, right? Well, of course we do. But we also know that moderation is key with screen time, and that too much exposure has actually been linked to a slew of negative consequences; including increases in obesity, as well as behavioral and sleep problems.

Which means that as parents, our job duties have extended to now also helping our children navigate the use of this technology responsibly. The problem is that up to this point, there haven’t been a lot of great tools for helping you to do that. Most parents have been flying blind in the management of their children’s tech time.

Not anymore, though.

Recently released by ParentsWare, OurPact is a new app that provides the tools you need to safely and effectively manage your child’s tech use. It provides you the tools you need to regain control over the technology in your home.

Download the app, and you will be able to schedule internet and app use for your kids directly from your own iPhone. Want them to focus on schoolwork between the hours of 5 and 7? You make their screens completely inaccessible – which is great, because while previous apps have only allowed you to control internet usage, this gives you control over everything.

You can set a daily time limit on the screen time they do have, block internet and apps with just at a touch, and start a dialogue with your kids about the importance of managing their own screen time responsibly.

Everything about this new app is intuitive and built with the average parent in mind. Best of all? It’s free.

So why not take control back in your own home? OurPact is here to help!

****Thanks to OurPact for sponsoring this post about their helpful app!

My opinion of it’s benefit is 100% my own.****

Feb 162015
 

Taking young kids out for dinner always felt so very daunting to me. But...I did! Here was the trick I used and why it ended up being not only survivable, but FUN! You can do it too!Last Wednesday night should have been an average weekday night in February.  You know, the kind of night where you feel like a rockstar for schooling Kindergarten homework and braving the 19 degree windchill for a venture out to the mailbox.

Nothing notable was planned or expected. My husband was working late. My only hope was to land the kids and me in bed by 8:30pm without totally losing my crap. Except the night ended up being a bit different. It ended up being a night I grew up a little.

You see, I had never taken my children out for dinner by myself. After a traumatic early experience taking our colicky baby boy to a restaurant, my husband and I were scarred. I could probably count the number of times we’ve eaten out with them together, and I’ve certainly never chanced it solo.

But I had heard rumors, reports of fun restaurant experiences from my far-more-normal-than-me friends. And for some reason, I just wasn’t into the vision of slugging out another night of chicken nuggets around our kitchen table. So when the spark of inspiration to pop in on a local diner hit, I didn’t quash it. Perhaps delusion from the endless house-arrest of winter chill and illnesses had finally set in??

In any case, I allowed the teensy “I can do this” thought to take root and grow strength. I even told a friend about my plans for accountability’s sake. And when dinner time rolled around, I did it–I threw the kids in the van and we went to a diner.

And it was so, so fun. Really. Now, don’t get me wrong–there were many panicked screams to not squeeze ketchup all over the table, a flurry of reminders to use our “pleases and thank-yous”, and an intense family trip to the bathroom I’d love to forget, but…it went well. The waitress was super-cute, the kids had so much fun ordering their own food, and they thought the ice cream treats at the end for meals well-eaten were the coolest thing since sliced bread.

I was floored. We had not only survived a trip to a public eating establishment, it ended up being kind of, very, cool. My daughter said, “This was the best night ever, Mommy!”, and my son is already asking to go back for his birthday–in June.

Fed by the confidence of an outing-gone-well, another crazy idea took shape. Maybe, just maybe, I could tackle the mess of my daughter’s hair too? Three and a half years old without ever having her hair cut, a trip to a hairdresser had been past-due for ages. But my mother’s heart ached at the though of chopping off her sweet curls, however horridly uneven they were. So I put it off…and off, and then off some more.

But not this Wednesday night. No, this Wednesday night I was powerful. I was a mom who did bold things–like feeding her children outside the home. I was mom who was on it. I was a mom who could do this.

I was so, so nervous for my daughter's first haircut! It was an emotional growing-up rite of passage for me, but here is the trick to how I managed--and so can you! And my daughter? She was fine!

So I did. Asking my new waitress friend for a recommendation, I slickly drove us over to a salon and asked if they accepted walk-ins. They did.

We ended up waiting forever. There were no toys. I was terrified. I thought surely my kids would get whiny and fussy and we would all burst out into outrageous tears in some point? In an effort to distract and amuse them, I desperately began making up games and tried to turn leafing through the hair style books into a fun adventure. They got cagey and ragey anyway.

But you know what? We survived. And then they called my daughter’s name. And the hairdresser was amazing. She was kind and patient and did not act like I was the worst mother of all time for allowing my daughter’s hair to become such a nightmare.

The real kicker? My daughter sat still and behaved herself. I know, I’m still not sure this night was totally real.

Yet real or not, I was on a roll. I got us home and patiently delighted with the kids as we looked through their class Valentines. I calmly did night-night snacks, bathed them, read to them and didn’t lose my crap even once.

It was miraculous. It was empowering. For one night, I truly was Mom of the Year.

In one single night, I had grown up as a parent in spades. I had done things that scared me, and I not only managed them, I enjoyed them. It was okay. We had been okay. I could do them again.

The secret trick for me? The same that has proven true for me time and again with so many scary things in this life–simply do it. My fear wasn’t going anywhere; I just had to pack it up and take it along as I forced myself to take the leap. I had to refuse to let it be the biggest thing in the room–especially if I wanted to make space for ice cream sundaes and cute new hairdos.

This growing up business is pretty crazy stuff. I’m not counting on a repeat any time soon, but last week I made some big strides.

Also, perhaps most importantly, I kept my original 8:30 bed goal, sliding under the covers at 8:29. God knows what would have happened if Mommy was forced to stay up past her bedtime…

Feb 122015
 

Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a battle, but it is one that matters! Go here to get encouragement in your oral health mission and pick up a few tricks to make it happen smoothly--even make it fun!My daughter’s sweet tooth is well-developed (read: if it has sugar in it, she will eat it). While I admire her unwavering dedication to knowing what she likes, her pursuit of the sweet stuff can be a bit “challenging for Mommy”. (read: daily fights over why endless consumption of lollipops is a no-go). My son is the exact opposite; he rarely, if ever, eats dessert or candy. (I have a strong suspicion that he is not actually my child).

Despite my repetitive effort to sneak protein, fiber, and other good stuff into my daughter’s diet while sneaking out the treats, there is another challenge her sugar crush presents: keeping her teeth healthy.

All those sweets can take a quick toll on young teeth. OTCSafety is super about keeping us parents in the loop about important wellness issues, and with their promotion of February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, this is a great time to make sure you are properly caring for the little mouths in your home. Did you know that over 50% of children will have some tooth decay by age 5? Oral infection is the leading chronic disease in kids.

While I want my little gal to enjoy her treats in moderation (she is so excited about her Valentines candy from her party at preschool!), caring for her teeth is no joke!

Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a battle, but it is one that matters! Go here to get encouragement in your oral health mission and pick up a few tricks to make it happen smoothly--even make it fun!

Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a battle, but it is one that matters! Go here to get encouragement in your oral health mission and pick up a few tricks to make it happen smoothly--even make it fun!How can I make sure I am doing a good job? Know the facts:

·         Fluoride is an anti-cavity active ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) products that helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.

·         Fluoride-containing products are typically not recommended for children under the age of 2.

·         Children under the age of 6 should use a pea-sized amount of paste or gel to minimize swallowing.

·         Children under the age of 6 should be supervised in order to develop good brushing and rinsing habits and to minimize product swallowing.

And the value of us setting a good example for our kids and teaching them how to brush properly cannot be overstated. For more information on proper oral care, check out this article.

With my kids, I try to make it seem fun (“Ooh, kids! We get to go to the dentist today!”). This won’t work as well as they get older, but for now? Dental care has somehow become cool.

My daughter’s preschool recently celebrated National Children’s Dental Health Month, having a dentist come in to chat and play games with the kids. I can’t tell you how excited my daughter was to come home and show me her toothpaste sticker!

And the toothbrush. AND THE TOOTHBRUSH.

Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a battle, but it is one that matters! Go here to get encouragement in your oral health mission and pick up a few tricks to make it happen smoothly--even make it fun!

It is orange.

We have discussed it for hours.

We have taken pictures with it.

We have called Grandpa and told him about it.

I’m thinking I may need to frame it when it has worn out.

The orange toothbrush has conveniently become the great love of my daughter’s 3 yr. old life. This makes brushing time a whole lot easier. But hey, even if you are lacking in the orange toothbrush department, you can figure this out. Let them pick out a fun toothbrush at the grocery store, put stickers on the toothpaste tube, sing a silly song whenever it’s time to brush…do whatever it takes, because it matters. 

Just don’t bribe your kids with candy. My daughter would probably tackle them in an effort to steal it away anyway ;)

 

****I am compensated as an OTCsafety blogging ambassador for this post, but my opinion are my own.****

 

 

Feb 092015
 

Feel like you're flailing and failing? YOU ARE NOT ALONE; trust me. Grab some support and find a little hope here--maybe even a few laughs with some of these ideas!I spent most of last week convinced of my own total ineptitude. You know how it looks when everything someone touches turns to gold? Think the exact opposite of that and you’re hanging with me in my week.

On Monday, I got lost on my way to the public library, panicked, was terribly late to pick up my daughter, which let to her maintaining a sobby, “I’m unloved” face for the better part of the afternoon.

Upon my son’s return home from school on Tuesday, I eagerly asked him how his cape for Day 100 worked out (don’t ask), and he reported that the 100 handprints we had carefully stamped on and counted over the weekend had all peeled off. In pieces. Throughout the hallways all over the school. My heart winced as I tossed our hard-work (thoughtful contained in ziplock bag by the teacher) in the trash can.

On Wednesday, I forgot my daughter’s backpack AND it was show-n-share day. Anyone with 3 yr. old daughter understands the horrific magnitude of this negligence.

Thursday I continued my late streak, dropped my son off at school right as the bell was ringing, and hollered, “Run!” at him as he flew out the door vs. a more nuturing, “I love you.”

And Friday I got a polite e-mail from my daughter’s preschool suggesting I turn in her physical form. It was due in July. Of 2014.

The above is just a few highlights of the week’s failures. Throw in temper tantrums, sickness, bad behavior at the sitter’s, ill-pursued diet plans, dog messes, poor sleep, work stresses and a boatload of fights over signing the class Valentines, the only redeeming factor is that I appeared to have failed both my children in equal measures. A fair spread of the incompetence.

It was the kind of week that it was a wonder I managed to get my pants on before leaving the house every day. At least, I’m pretty sure this happened.

I wanted to quit. All the things. How this would work, I wasn’t exactly sure. I hadn’t worked out the specifics of renouncing my role as mother and wife and pursuing a different life course. But I knew it needed to happen.

I spend a lot of time trying to talk myself into focusing on the things I do right and not beat myself up for the ways I fail, and there is immense value in this. But it would have taken a miracle worker and a whole lot of vodka to put a spin on this beast of a week.

Feel like you're flailing and failing? YOU ARE NOT ALONE; trust me. Grab some support and find a little hope here--maybe even a few laughs with some of these ideas!

How was I supposed to handle this productively then? There are of course the solid-standby solutions:

Pray. First and desperately. That you can know that perfection is not required, or even desirable.

Call a friend or someone who thinks you are wonderful and listen to them tell you why you are not a loser.

Do something fun. With or without your kids. Something that reminds you that there are many, many reasons to relax, smile and feel good about yourself.

You can always go with less-productive coping strategies, such as sobbing to your husband about how your entire life is a complete wash. He will be thrilled with your stunning display of reason and I have heard vigorous sobbing burns calories?

Or you could decide to actually quit. Again, I’m not sure how this would actually play out. I anticipate some emphatic marching in a locked bathroom carrying a picket sign while refusing to fill juice cups–at least until your children’s desperate pleas crashed your mission.

One thing that will always help? Take comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone. Check in here. Or anywhere that makes you feel less crazy, more normal, and loved for being human–simply human. Nothing less and nothing more.

Because yes, there will be days, weeks, and even entire ages and stages that you will fail.  BUT WE ALL FAIL. YOU REALLY AREN’T ALONE. We’ll screw it up together. And then we can cheer each other on when we get it right–because someday, really, we are bound to get this right.

Welcome, friends.

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:36008119, copyright:Frank-Peters

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:43804817, copyright:aletia 

 

Feb 042015
 

Keeping up with videos and pictures can seem daunting. With this simple app, all the guesswork and challenge of keeping up is erased--easy-peasy and FREE! Go score it now!My kids are at really cute ages. So many times I wish I could bottle up their 5 yr.old-ness and 3 yr. old-ness and keep it forever. Not saying they won’t do cute things in the years to come, but I find it pretty magical when my son explains the reason his girlfriend likes him as “I showed her my ducks.” Will it ever be this innocent again?!

My husband and I try to capture it all–we really do. We even have preschool concerts and big events down to a science; I snap the pics and he records the video as his hands are more steady. And then we do our best to text the highlights to friends and family, throwing some of our favorites up on Facebook. But at best, our efforts are haphazard.

So when I found out the OneDay app was coming to Android as of yesterday, 2/3/15 (it has already been on iTunes), I was pretty stoked. I had heard about this app endlessly from friends. About how awesome it was, how much kids loved it, and what a perfect way it was to capture memories all in one custom-made video. Now that it’s available on Android for FREE, it was time to give this app a whirl. Plus, the sweet new Valentines’ stories are adorbale!

What is it?

The OneDay App is an instant movie maker that helps parents make movies of their children like a pro in seconds with fun holiday themes and curated, thought provoking, fun story sets.

Is it hard to use?

No! OneDay makes it fun to create short movies of your child’s life with a few simple steps. You open the app, pick a question from a wide selection of fun story sets, and record your children’s answers. Then the app automatically stitches the recorded videos together, and adds music to make quality, priceless movies to share with family and friends.

The strength of the app is in its simplicity. No thinking required. No editing or video skills needed. If I can do this, so can you!

Overwhelmed by pictures and videos of your kids? This one app pulls it all together for you--all you have to do is film your cute kiddo! Go make some memories--the easy way!

How do I do it?

Download the app, chose a set of themed questions for your movie (try one of the Valentine’s prompts I mentioned–they are the perfect way to send a smile this time of year!), record your child’s answers, hit “save and created story” and then watch your edited video, with music and transitions.

The app guides you through and does all the hard work for you. You just record your kid and have fun!

What does a video look like?

So glad you asked! Check out what my very non-skilled, non-tech-savvy self came up with:

One with a touch of heart (please ignore my daughter passionately flailing on the side) and

One I like to call “Brother-Sister Love” (if you have a sibling pair at home, you will know exactly why this is so precious…)

Want to get this easy video-making fun for yourself?

Go HERE for iTunes and HERE for Android, download the app and let it guide you through making your own keepsake to share with friends and family.

Did I mention that it’s FREE? It definitely is. Go score fun for yourself and and get ready to laugh it up with your kids! With this app, you are all video stars!

*****This post was sponsored by OneDay, but my delight in this app is 100% genuine!*****

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:3505216, copyright:Demixx

Feb 022015
 

Trying to figure out your role and strengths as mom is hard! Here's how to embrace it smoothly and why you should celebrate your differences! You'd be surprised where my strengths lie, but I'm embracing them anyway!I’m not shy about not being particularly good at this kid thing. I love mine, of course. And sometimes I even enjoy kids’ activities and playdates, but in general, I’m a flop at understanding what to do with the younger set.

This bothers me. It’s the kind of thing you feel weird discussing with others, because what will they think? I’m not good at kids, and I have them. I can hear the warning sirens firing off, demanding I start stashing up for my children’s future therapy needs now.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering all the different kinds of moms. And I don’t mean the helicopter mom vs. permissive mom vs. any of the other parenting styles so often discussed. I mean different moms are good at different things.

Like, I have friend who is fantastic at doing crafts with her kids. I think her house must have a secret art supply stash room somewhere. And you know what? That’s cool because she enjoys doing creating stuff with them. Plus, when we visit, my kids always get to make something really neat.

Another friend is so darn good at playing with her kids outside. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, she is on it. Sleds and parkas in the winter get traded in for rain boots and sunblock as the weather warms. If it’s light out, she and the kids are out, soaking up all that vitamin D goodness.

I admire my friend who aces staying relaxed, something that is too often overlooked in our culture. She and her children chill, relax and play their way through their days. And don’t think she ever stresses. Her children are going to grow up to be the most zen creatures on this earth.

Another friend schools a bevvy of extracurriculars for her kids, another is the queen of fun kid vacations, another hasn’t stopped reading her daughter books from the moment she came out of the womb. Others are good at teaching, at laughing, at baking, at…you get the point, we’re all different.

And that’s okay, because we need a boatload of different people in this world. It’s a really good thing that people are raised in different ways with different focuses. Variety is the stuff of life, right?

Trying to figure out your role and strengths as mom is hard! Here's how to embrace it smoothly and why you should celebrate your differences! You'd be surprised where my strengths lie, but I'm embracing them anyway!

Recently I was chatting this over with a friend (you know, the real kind of friend, the one who doesn’t judge you for still being in your pajamas at 1pm) and she had a brilliant point. She noted that it’s not just the particular things we are good at doing with our kids, but the particular ages of our children that highlight our mothering strengths.  This made so much sense!

As in, at this age of my children, I might shudder with impatience at the idea of teaching them to play piano, but when my daughter is older, I would love to teach her to knit. My friend talked about the brutality of trying to entertain her little kids, but she now loves hanging out and catching movies with her teenagers. There will always be ages and stages we handle better than others, and this is okay too. We always love our kids, we might just have times that we shine a bit more than others.

What am I good at? Not young kids, for sure, but I do have hopes for future years. And while I suck at taking my kids to lessons, live in fear of glitter, and am terrible at Play-Doh, I’m not terrible at making a big deal of special little things. The silly days and events no one cares about? I probably do, and I celebrate them with our kids. Whether it’s trekking out to the Farm Show every year or throwing a rockin’ Groundhog Day party today, it’s probably a happening for our family.

So, it works. For us. And that’s the bottom line; everyone has her strength, and it might look nothing like the neighbor’s. Moms, find your glory, and go share it with your kiddos. Being you is one powerful gift to give your children.

 

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Second image credits: depositphotos.com, image ID:9305586, copyright:iofoto; image ID:63171059, copyright:kdshutterman; image ID:22165189, copyright:yanlev; image ID:5024549, copyright:Kzenon

Jan 262015
 

School fundraisers are no joke! As a first time mom, it was so overwhelming to know what to do or how to handle them! Feeling confused about how to best raise funds for your kids' school? You're not alone!Silly Mommy thought she had met her match in the fall through the school picture order form.

Isn’t the naivete of a first-time Kindergarten mom precious? As it turns out, there was a far greater evil in store, lurking for me in these bleak winter months, a powerful force popularly known as The School Fundraiser.

This year’s fundraiser for my son’s school is The American Heart Association’s “It Takes a Heart to be a Hero” campaign. To be abundantly clear: I would love to help The AHA. I love our school and I am sure they will use this as an opportunity for my child to “learn, exercise, have fun, and feel good about helping others”, as described, and I appreciate this.  I know first-hand the seriousness of heart disease and would love for my son to play a role in helping to raise money for the cause while learning more about heart health.

The only problem is that his mother is too stupid to figure out how he can do it. The problem is all me.

I got the form in his backpack and looked at it. The words started to blur over a whole lot of fine print and many, many pictures of various small rubber ducks. Apparently the ducks were related to an incentive structure of sorts for raising money, but after 5 minutes of careful study, I remained horrendously confused.

The school then sent home an explanatory e-mail regarding what actions the parents were to take to facilitate said fundraising efforts. I became more baffled. I poured myself a soothing cup of oolong tea in hopes that it would lend perspective. It did not.

I told my husband I was overwhelmed by this fundraiser.

He rolled his eyes and left the room. OH TO BE A MAN.

I called my father and asked if he would sponsor our son, as that seemed a proper thing to do.

“Of course,” he said, “What are they doing to raise money?”

“I don’t know.”

“What does the paper say?, he asked.

“I am finding that bit confusing. The website is www.heart.org/jump, so maybe they are jumping rope?”

“Okay, well that’ll be fun.”

“I don’t think your grandson knows how to jump rope.”

I called my sister to whine.

I heard her hushing her newborn baby in the background and felt obscenely jealous that she had no teeny plastic ducks to sort. Nevermind her stress of poopy blow-outs.

I then e-mailed my friend who had an older son in the same school.

My friend is incredibly kind, smart, and has been through this fundraiser before and lived to tell about it. Regardless, it still took several attempts and impassioned please (on my part) of “TELL ME WHAT TO DO.” before I had even a small notion of how to proceed.

Trying to figure out the forms for my child's school fundraiser leaves me scratching my head. Feeling overwhelmed? We all want to support the educational system, but...Check in here for a laugh and know that you're not alone!

Yet the quandary of the incentive ducks persisted. How much was he to earn for “Splatter Quacky”? What about the bonus “Scribbles Ninja” for online orders? And what was this about a landyard/jump rope?

While the overarching goal obviously remains to remain money for the AHA, I’ll admit to comparison anxiety. Would lack of adequate fundraising lead to my son being the only one sitting lamely in the audience while all the other children paraded on stage gleefully waving their “Super Duck Trophies”? What was a “Super Duck Trophy”?

One thing remained certain: I was failing as a parent and being taken down by plastic ducks. They were winning.

I wish this story had a happy ending. That I could tell you how my son was not permanently damaged for life by his mother’s incapacity to handle Kindergarten fundraising.

I cannot tell you this; the jury’s still out.

However, I can report that I am making significant progress on learning exactly what they will be doing during this fundraiser week. A few hundred more e-mails to go, and I should have this thing all sorted. Easy-peasy.

Also, I have a strong suspicion there will be unidentifiable plastic ducks in our future.

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:3584523, copyright:poznyakov

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