Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Duck Bill Money Clip: A Father’s Day Gift He’ll Love


My husband never reads my blog (unless I decide to include investment tips!), so I can tell you something really cool that I got him for Father’s Day. A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative for the Duck Bill Money Clip. He told me that his product would be a huge hit with my husband for Father’s Day, but I needed a little convincing. My husband has never used a money clip, so how could I be sure he would be enthusiastic? So I decided to show the following video to him to see what reaction I got. My husband is a very visual person, so I knew I’d have to show him the Duck Bill Money Clip, not just tell him about it. Here’s the video he viewed:



Well, to my surprise, after viewing the video, my husband said, “You know, that looks really cool! I’d like to have one of those!” So, shhhhh, he’s now the proud owner of a Duck Bill Money Clip that he’ll receive on Father’s Day! Here’s what impressed us about it:

It can hold up to sixty folded bills or the same width of cash and credit cards, and it snaps back to its original form every time. It’s even patented! If you’ve ever had a money clip in the past and it has lost its hold, dumping all your money out, the Duck Bill Money Clip is specifically designed to keep on holding its grip every time.

It’s very classy looking. It comes in your choice of a matte or polished finish, and you can even have it engraved (up to 24 characters) for just $10 more! You can put your honey’s name on it for a very businesslike look (like I did), or engrave something fun, like “We Love Daddy!” from the kids. It arrives in a really manly-looking embossed steel gift box, ready to give.

The shipping is FREE in the United States via first-class mail. I’m always a huge fan of free shipping!

Their slogan is “Cool. Simple. Works.” and it perfectly describes the Duck Bill Money Clip. If you or your spouse is a money clip user, you may find this is the best one you’ve ever used! And if you’ve never used a money clip, the makers of the Duck Bill Money Clip feel confident that you’ll become a convert after just a week of use.

Father’s Day is only three weeks away, so hurry over to http://www.duckbilldesign.com/ to order a Duck Bill Money Clip for your hubby (or yourself). It makes a very unique and special gift for someone special!





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Friday, May 29, 2009

May Is National Water Safety Month


The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association have designated May as National Water Safety Month. School’s getting out and summer’s almost here, which means that more and more children are going to be heading to pools, waterparks and the beach.

I live in Florida, where we swim all year. Not surprisingly, we hear often that a child has drowned. In fact, drowning is the number-one cause of death for children under age 5. Seventy-five percent of the victims are babies between the ages of 12-25 months.

Following are some tips for keeping your children safe in the water:

Teach your children how to swim. Sign them up for lessons as soon as they’re old enough to participate. If you’re an adult and you can’t swim, get lessons for yourself, too! You never know when you’ll have to rescue a child who has fallen out of a boat or into a swimming pool.

Check for lifeguards. If you’re going to a public pool or a beach, make sure that lifeguards are posted. Here in Florida, we know how dangerous rip currents can be in the ocean and that we should swim parallel to the shore if we find ourselves caught in one. But many vacationers are unaware of this. Don’t swim in the ocean if lifeguards aren’t present, especially if you have kids.

Don’t let kids swim alone. Even if your child is a good swimmer, she should never swim unsupervised. Teach him to always swim with a friend and an adult present.

Limit diving. Make sure children know never to dive headfirst into the water. The American Red Cross recommends that water be 9 feet deep before diving or jumping.

Don’t drink and swim or boat. This tip is for the teens and adults. Just like driving an automobile, never operate a boat, Jet Ski or even go water skiing if you’ve been drinking. And, yes, you can get arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol!

Don’t use water wings as life-saving devices. Water wings might give you a little extra comfort in knowing they help your child to float, but they should never be used instead of a life jacket or life preserver. They’re easily punctured and may tempt kids to go into deep water when they cannot swim.

Use sunscreen. My teenage son recently attended a party at the beach. It was cloudy and rainy much of the day, so he didn’t use sunscreen. He got severely burned and is now paying the price with discomfort and peeling. Even worse, he’s put himself at greater risk of experiencing skin cancer when he’s older. Make sure your kids are wearing sunscreen. Hats and protective shirts are also great. Reapply the sunscreen periodically if they’re doing a lot of swimming. Look for products that are safe for young children, especially babies.

Know pool safety rules. If you, your neighbors or family members have a swimming pool, order Safety: A Pool Owner’s Visual Guide DVD. It’s only 10 minutes long, but it really could save a child’s life. This DVD taught me a lot of things that I wasn’t aware of, even though my family had a swimming pool when I was growing up and I’ve lived in Florida for more than 20 years. Visit http://www.tenminutesforlife.com or call 1-877-TEN-MINUTES for more information.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Have an “Up” Party This Summer with Lots of Balloons!


This is the start of party season! Graduations, Father’s Day, Independence Day, summer barbecues, family reunions and vacations all warrant a fun party. If you’ve got kids at home with summer birthdays, most likely you’ll be looking for party ideas. Penny Warner from Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kits sent me the following simple and easy tips on how to throw a party based on the upcoming Pixar film, Up. My kids and I have been watching the trailers for this movie, and it looks like a film we’re all going to enjoy. Also, we recently picked up a Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kit at our local Kmart and were amazed at how easy it is to use! No more standing in line at the store for us to wait for someone to blow up a bunch of balloons and try to get them home. The award-winning Balloon Time Kit came with a helium-filled tank, balloons and ribbon. No assembly was required … just “blow and go”! It was awesome! And so are these great party ideas …

Tips for Throwing a Themed “Up,” The Movie Party
By Penny Warner with Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kits

If one of your children has a birthday coming up, build a party theme around Disney© Pixar’s new movie, “Up.” This delightful computer-animated 3-D film features the adventures of an old man named Carl and an eight-year-old wilderness explorer named Russell. Together they meet up with unexpected villains and escape wild jungle animals -- all while traveling in a house floating from a bunch of helium-inflated balloons!

Invitations: Build your own floating house

Cut out house-shaped cards, decorate them to look like the party house, and write the address on the front. On the back, add the party details. Inflate a balloon with helium using a Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kit, tie the house card to the balloon with string, and hand deliver to your guests.

Decorations: Inflate the partygoers with fun
Fill the room with helium balloons but personalize them with pictures of the guests flying around the room! Photocopy their yearbook photos onto lightweight paper and cut out the faces. Cut out paper doll bodies from posterboard and glue the faces onto the bodies. Inflate a bunch of balloons with helium and tie each of the “guests” to a balloon bouquet. Then watch them float around the party!

Games & Activities: Bunches of balloons
Balloons are always a hit with kids! Play several balloon-related games and activities in keeping with the theme, to entertain the guests:

Balloon Launch.
Inflate about 20 balloons with helium. Collect 20 lightweight objects, such as a sponge, an action figure, a plastic spoon and so on. Place them in the middle of the room. Divide the group into two teams and give each team 10 balloons, tied together in a bunch, with ribbon dangling. Have the teams race to choose objects from the pile and tie them onto the strings. The goal is to tie the MOST objects to the balloon bunch and STILL keep it floating!

Balloon Attack.
Use the Balloon Time Party Create-A-Face Sticker Kit to inflate a bunch of balloons with helium and use the stickers to give each balloon its own, scary face. Tie ribbons to the balloons, short enough to make the kids jump to reach them, and let the balloons float on the ceiling. Divide into two teams. On the word, “Attack!” have one player from each team jump up and grab a balloon string, and then try to pop the balloon as quickly as possible - by sitting on it, stepping on it and so on. As soon as a player has popped a balloon, he or she must run back to the team and tap the next player in line to pop a balloon. The team that finishes popping all the balloons first wins!

Balloon Collector. Inflate 15 to 20 balloons with helium. Select a player, set a timer for two minutes, and then have the player try to hold onto as many balloons as he or she can - stuffed in a shirt, under the arms, between the legs, under the neck, and so on. At the end of two minutes, count how many balloons the player has managed to hold onto. The player with the biggest balloon total wins the game. Meanwhile, the onlookers get to enjoy the hilarious antics of each player!

Balloon Posse. Divide the group into two teams, each representing one color. Blow up enough balloons for each player to have one balloon in his or her team’s color. Set up an obstacle course in the party room or yard, with small tables, chairs, large boxes and so on. Line up teams and give one player from each team a broom and a balloon in the team color. Players must race to get their balloons through the obstacle course using only the broom. The first team to complete the race wins.


Refreshments: Re-inflate the fun with themed snacks

In keeping with the balloon theme, serve your guests round snacks, like cheese and crackers, and balloon-shaped sandwiches using a cookie cutter. For a balloon birthday cake, bake three round cakes, set them together to form a balloon bouquet, and frost them red, blue, and yellow. Use licorice whips as strings.

Favors: Send the guests up, up and away
Insert a small toy inside a dark-colored balloon. Inflate the balloons with helium to use as decorations at the party. When the party is over, have the kids choose a balloon and pop it to find the surprise inside!

Visit www.balloontime.com to find more great party ideas, a Balloon Time retailer near you, and a coupon for $2 off a Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kit! There are several different kits to choose from. Have a great party!



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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sending Your Child to College 101: Student Electronic Needs


Note from Susan: It’s that time of year … graduation! Most likely, you know someone who’s graduating from high school this year and heading off to college. Maybe it’s even a child of your own! My oldest son graduated from high school in 2008, and we started asking ourselves what his electronic needs would be for college. My parents came to the rescue by getting him a new laptop as a graduation present. He loves it and uses it exclusively now instead of his desktop. He can take it to class or the campus library, or sit in bed doing homework with his computer in his lap. Marie Pinak Carr, who coauthored the book, Sending Your Child to College: The Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual, wrote the following article about the essential electronic products that college-bound students will need.

Sending Your Child to College 101: Student Electronic Needs
By Marie Pinak Carr

The 2009 graduating class is perhaps the most technologically savvy class of students to date, and bringing these skills to college is increasingly important. Below are 5 essentials that every student will need.

1. Computers -- They’re expensive, but every student will need one, and many computer manufacturers and colleges offer student discounts. Students need to inquire and take student IDs with them when purchasing. Today’s computers can multitask. I suggest investing in some external speakers, and if the computer doesn’t have an internal DVD/CD-ROM drive, purchase an external one. Now the computer can double as an entertainment center, playing both music and allowing one to watch movies or TV on it. Modern monitors can also be hooked up to cable, and used as a screen for watching TV. In this case the keyboard controls act as a TV remote for changing channels. If your computer contains a webcam, you can use it to webchat with the free downloadable program Skype. Skype offers visual and auditory communication through computers.

A word of caution: Unauthorized downloading, uploading or possession of copyrighted material, including songs and movies, is illegal. Use of file-sharing programs has exposed students to costly lawsuits from record and movie industry groups.

2. Ethernet cable
-- Plan on purchasing a 14-foot Ethernet cable. This will be sufficient for almost every situation to connect your student’s computer to the college network in the dorm room. Many colleges prohibit personal wireless access points or routers in their residences as they interfere with network traffic.

3. Printers -- Before you purchase a printer, inquire if your college provides each registered student with a print allowance or a set number of pages that a student can print from any of the networked printers on campus. In some instances, colleges offer as many as 1,000 pages per student, per semester.

4. Portable memory chip, also known as a thumb drive or USB key. A 2GB or less thumb drive is adequate, as this will primarily be used for the transport and transfer of data between campus and the dorm room. It’s advisable for students to email important documents to an email account they can access from any computer on campus. Thumb drives will act as critical back-up should the Internet be down.

5. Cell phones are also a necessity with our Generation Y students. Once again, these can multi-task, and many phones can act as cameras, alarm clocks, calculators, and electronic calendars in addition to communication devices. Fancier models can offer GPS, Internet connections, note-taking capabilities, etc. Note that telephone companies charge additional fees for text messages, information calls, and Internet use that is not included in the original cell plan. It’s best to understand call plans and warranties.

Lastly, before you pack those items to go to college, it’s a good idea to take an inventory that includes purchase receipts along with the model and serial number, warranty information and photographs of these higher priced items. This could help in recovering stolen or damaged property, or working with the insurance company.

Marie Carr’s latest book,
Sending Your Child to College, is the winner of both the iParenting Award for the Best Parenting Book in 2009 and one of 2009 best products from Parent Testing Parent Approved media. It is available in bookstores, from Amazon and also www.PreparedParent.com.



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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Love Our Lulla-Bear: Win One! (Giveaway)


I am so excited about this giveaway because this product has really helped our family with a problem we’ve been having. First let me tell you about the Lulla-Bear:

The Lulla-Bear is a combination of a teddy bear and an MP3 player. It comes pre-loaded with more than 90 minutes of lullabies, children’s songs and nature sounds, and you can program it with more music of your own. Now, when I was first contacted to try this product, I thought of it solely as something you would use in the baby nursery to help infants get to sleep. My youngest kids are five, so I wasn’t sure if I was the best person to check out this product. But when they told me that toddlers and preschoolers also love the Lulla-Bear, I decided to give it a try.

The Lulla-Bear has turned out to be one of the most popular and helpful products my kids have ever tested. My son, Austen, has become enamored with it. He adores his Lulla-Bear, and, even more interestingly, he loves the lullaby songs the best! They’re sung by a beautiful soprano voice that just calms him right down. He begs me to let him listen to his Lulla-Bear at all hours of the day, but it has been even more wonderful for bedtime. Austen often gives me a hard time in going to bed, and now he has stayed in his bed for three nights when he laid down with his Lulla-Bear and the lullabies. We are so happy that bedtime has become much calmer in our house! Of course, different techniques work for different children, so I can’t guarantee it will work as a sleep aid for your child. But for our family, it’s been a life-saver. Austen even made his bear a little bed out of a box and covers him with a blanket at night.

I asked my teenage son to load more children’s songs onto our Lulla-Bear, and he said it was a breeze. No software is required. The bear comes with a UPC cord and MP3 player tucked inside a compartment in his back. It supports MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA and WAV files, and works with the following operating systems: Unix Version 1.0 or above; Windows 2000, XP or above (my son used Vista); and Apple Mac OS X 10.5 or above. The bear also requires 3 AA batteries. The volume is easily controlled, and the bear will shut itself off after a while so it’s not playing all night. There’s 512MB of memory, which is about 8 hours of music. You can even download stories or your own voice if they’re compatibly formatted. Sweet little icons sewn into the bear’s feet serve as the controls, and a heart on his chest glows red when he is on.

And, of course, besides being a favorite with preschoolers, the Lulla-Bear makes a beautiful gift for anyone who’s expecting a baby or has an infant who’s not sleeping well. The bear is cuddly and looks fabulous in a baby’s room.

You can order the Lulla-Bear on Amazon or Google “Lulla-Bear” to find other retailers, such as Bed Bath & Beyond.

Finally, I am so excited to announce that I have a brand-new Lulla-Bear to give away to one lucky family! (Thank you, CrowleyJones, for sending two, because we’re not giving ours up!) To enter this giveaway, leave a comment with your favorite tip for getting your baby or child to sleep well. This is mandatory to enter the giveaway.

For optional, additional entries:

- Put a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog. (The code is in the upper right-hand column of this site.) Post a comment with your blog’s URL.

- Follow me on Twitter (@ParentingAuthor) and tweet this giveaway on Twitter. Leave a comment with the URL to your tweet.

- Post this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a link to the post.

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS or as a Follower on Blogger. Leave a comment with your subscription method.

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified entries received by midnight on Sunday, June 7, 2009. Be sure to leave an email address if you don’t have it posted on your Blogger page. The winner will be emailed and must respond within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner: oneinamil23!

Disgusting Topic of the Day: Playing with Poop

I had a mom contact me today in desperation because her twin boys, who had just turned two, were removing their diapers and playing with their poop when she put them to bed. Needless to say, it was a disgusting mess as they would smear excrement all over themselves, their beds, the walls and more. When my boys were small, we had one poop-smearing episode, but fortunately it was an isolated incident. For other families, though, this can be a frequent occurrence with toddlers. Finding a solution is often trial-and-error. Here are some ideas from parents who have had this problem:

Duct Tape:
Many kids can’t get their diapers off if they’re sealed with duct tape. Of course, this also makes it more difficult for adults to take off the diaper, but most parents agree that they’d rather struggle with this than be cleaning poop off the wall!

Pajamas on Backwards: One mother told me she had success with buying zippered pajamas for her boys. She put them on backward and secured them with a safety pin! So far, they haven’t been able to get them off.

Little Keeper Sleeper: I haven’t tried this product, but I’ve seen many online recommendations for a product called the Little Keeper Sleeper. It’s a specially designed sleeper that is very difficult for kids to remove. You can read about it here: http://www.littlekeepersleeper.com/store/Default.asp.

Cold Showers: Other parents have had success with giving their kids cold showers after a feces-smearing episode. After a few such showers, many children will stop playing with their poop to avoid the cold water. This may seem a little cruel, but many parents say they only had to do this once or twice and the poop smearing disappeared!

The good news is that, for most children, this fascination with feces is usually short-lived. It’s very common and rarely means that anything is seriously wrong with your child. If you’ve dealt with this issue in your household, please leave a comment sharing your solutions!



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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Understanding Introverts

I must admit, I was a bit of a social misfit as a child. I much preferred individual projects over group activities. Oral reports filled me with fear and dread. I wasn’t interested in team sports, and going to parties really didn’t excite me. I often wondered what was “wrong” with me. I really didn’t feel like the term “shy” fit me. I didn’t act like many of the shy kids, who hid behind their mothers or spoke in a whisper. From the outside, nobody could tell I had these “issues,” but I was often labeled “stuck up” or “haughty” because I didn’t join in.

When I got older, I would spend hours alone in my room, playing my records and writing stories. If I heard company arrive downstairs, it was agonizing to drag myself out of my room to join the crowd. To this day, an invitation to a party or gathering doesn’t fill me with joy. Repetitive conversations drive me insane. I usually force myself to go, and I have a good time once I’m there, but I’m always relieved when it’s over and my social calendar is blank again.

Then, one day, I read a definition of the word “introvert” written by Carol Bainbridge, who writes About.com’s “Gifted Children” column. It was a “Eureka!” moment for me. Here’s what she wrote:

Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.”

When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.

Being introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk.

Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population.

(If you’d like to read her definition of an “extrovert,” click here.)

Carol Bainbridge had described me to a T! Now I know why I am “different”: I am an introvert.

Just this week, I read an article called “Top Jobs for Introverts” by Woodrow Aames. He wrote, “Despite seeming quiet or withdrawn, introverts are just as interesting, creative and valuable to the workplace as their extroverted counterparts.” Like Carol Bainbridge, he said, “Introverts are often associated with shyness, but the trait is often not the case. According to Swiss psychologist Carol Jung (who invented the term in the 1920s), an introvert is simply more concerned with the ‘inner life of the mind’ and in solitary activities than in the society of others. They have a keen interest in solving problems, working creatively in solitude, and designing solutions without distractions.” He continues, “Introverts make up just a quarter of the general population, however they’re said to make up 60 percent of the population that is considered ‘gifted.’” He then went on to list a few jobs that are well-suited to introverts, such as computer software engineers and accountants.

It made me wonder if choosing to be a writer and editor was a good choice for me. The answer is “yes” and “no.” The writing part is perfect. It’s a solitary activity. I’m perfectly happy sitting home alone, working on my computer, trying to create the next “masterpiece.” But the promotional part of writing books is torture for me. Ask me to do an interview or give a presentation, and I’m filled with dread and a desire to go to the nearest exit!

I’ve been thinking about my “introverted” traits a lot lately as I’ve watched one of my five-year-old twins develop. For instance, we were at a gymnastics place the other day with his classmates, and he kept to the side of the gym. He just couldn’t bring himself to join in. None of his classmates were strangers, and he had been to this place before, but when the instructor yelled, “Everyone get together,” he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. If he had been alone in that gym, he would have played to his heart’s content. But in a big social setting, he was filled with angst. The same thing happened when we signed him up for soccer. He’ll play ball at home, but had a hard time joining the team.

As a parent, of course, I get a little embarrassed when this happens. The other parents’ children are out there playing and having a good time, while mine sits on the sidelines. But when my son comes to me after one of these events, all I can do is hug him. I understand. He’s an introvert, like me.



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Thursday, May 21, 2009

BIG SALE on "Oh, Baby!"


I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that one of my publishers is merging with another, and they’re discontinuing a very large number of their current titles. Even worse, one of my books -- Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year -- is one of the casualties. So, here’s the good news (at least, for you): I have a bunch of these books available, and I’m reducing them to just $5 each! (The regular retail price is $15.95.)

I really love Oh, Baby!, and I hate to see it go out of print. So, I hope you’ll help me spread the word about this terrific book! Here’s a description of its content:

Are you ever really prepared for your first child? Or even the second or third? So you’ve got the nursery set up, the diapers bought and the pediatrician selected, but you may be shocked at how, despite your best efforts, you’re totally unprepared for parenthood! Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year will provide you -- the expectant or new parent -- with the “real story” about the many ways a new baby will turn your life upside-down. These changes -- which occur in 7 key areas of life -- may surprise you:

Love: A new baby will introduce you to the deepest, purest love you’ll ever know, but how can this also be a painful love?

Self: Having a child “completes you” and makes you a better person, but in what ways will it also challenge your sense of “self”?

Marriage: Baby’s first year of life exerts many pressures on a marriage. How can you and your partner work toward moving the pendulum from confinement, confusion and chaos back to fun, reward and growth?

Career: There are so many decisions to be made. Will you be able to balance all of the responsibilities that go along with making a living and raising a child -- and do them both successfully?

Spiritual Life: The miracle of new life can be spiritually awakening, but in what ways can it also test your faith?

Friends: Friendships come and go throughout your life -- but especially when a new baby arrives. How does having a baby attract -- but also alienate! -- friends?

Extended Family: Having a baby is a “family affair” that impacts -- both positively and negatively -- your relationships with parents, in-laws and siblings. Is family harmony possible?

While this book is realistic in the ways that life is changed post-baby, it offers practical advice and sensitive know-how to help you survive -- and even thrive! -- in the first year. Through the use of fascinating narratives, poignant questions, suggested activities and experienced advice, you’ll find solutions that maximize an optimistic view in tackling the challenges that are naturally a part of new parenthood. Best of all, your new coping skills will free you up from the stresses of that first year so you can love your baby -- and cherish your new family -- for the ultimate parenting experience!

Oh, Baby! is a proud winner of a Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Award, an iParenting Media Award and a Mom’s Choice Award!

Just click here to get Oh, Baby! for only $5 (plus shipping). This offer remains good until all my books are gone (sniffle, sniffle).



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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book Review: 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth


I keep hearing the words to that old song in my head, “Grease is the word, is the word, is the word…” Only, in my version, I’m hearing, “Green is the word…!” Yes, going green is hot these days, and hopefully it’s not a passing fad. By teaching our children about conservation, environmental clean-up, recycling, wildlife preservation and more, we can help them establish good habits that will be life-long and impact future generations.

Amarildo Pedro Rita, known as “Coach Pedro” to his youth soccer players, has seen firsthand how important it is to teach children about taking care of our planet. In his many years as both a professional soccer player in Brazil and as a youth soccer coach in Michigan, he’s been dismayed by the huge amounts of food wrappers, water bottles, athletic tape and much more scattered on the fields after a game. People were missing opportunities to recycle their bottles and cans, and they were harming the environment by not picking up their litter.

This inspired Coach Pedro and his wife, Susan Adam Rita, to write a book for kids called 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth. The book is written in both English and Spanish in the hopes of appealing not only to all children, but especially to those in Hispanic communities, the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. This delightfully illustrated book includes tips like:

- Surround your house and/or land with trees; it will help us have more clean oxygen.

- Protect wildlife by not giving animals human food and not taking them away from their natural habitat, since we need them to make the environment a better place.

- Do not waste electricity. Turn off lights, TV, or any utilities that are not in use when you don’t need them.

- Do not drive your car for a short distance, but ride your bike. It will make you feel better and healthier.

At the end of the book, it asks children, “How can I help save the earth?” It’s a great opener for conversations with kids about how small efforts can make a big difference in our world. 20 Easy Ways to Help Save the Earth is available from AuthorHouse and Amazon. You can also visit Coach Pedro’s website at www.coachpedro.com to find out more about him and his other exciting projects.



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Monday, May 18, 2009

GE Stainless Steel Appliances Are More Affordable Than Ever


Several months ago, our old refrigerator gave out. Needless to say, getting a new one was a priority! Even though our old refrigerator was white, we’d been thinking about getting a stainless-steel one when we replaced it. We purchased a new GE stainless-steel refrigerator, and we’ve been just thrilled with it! Fortunately, stainless-steel goes with just about anything, so it looks great with the rest of our white appliances. Our new fridge is roomy, well-organized inside, and works beautifully. Our model has a special section in the door to keep soda (or beer) cans, which is really handy. (It’s also removable if it’s not something you’d use.) The bins are big and roomy, and a gallon of milk fits in the door so it’s always within reach (important with young children). The freezer is much roomier than our old one, and we love the in-door ice maker.

Therefore, when a rep for GE contacted me recently about their newest promotion, I was more than happy to pass it along to you! From now until July 6, 2009, you can purchase select GE Stainless Steel Appliances for the same prices as their regular appliances at participating retailers! Go to www.strong-as-steel.com to read the details and find a participating retailer near you. You can even enter their sweepstakes for a dream trip or new appliances! (I did!) You’ll also get a big kick out of their new Strong as Steel campaign. It’s a humorous take on how busy people like us can squeeze a workout into our days by using our kitchen appliances! Check out their hilarious video here:

Strong As Steel from Strong As Steel on Vimeo.



If any of your current appliances are getting old, I encourage you to check out GE’s Stainless Steel Appliances now while they’re running this special. Better to do your research now before your appliance dies and you’re desperate to find a replacement right away. We love our new GE stainless-steel refrigerator, not only for its functionality but also for how wonderful it looks in our kitchen. Visit www.strong-as-steel.com.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway: My Mommy’s on a Business Trip


As the economy worsens and unemployment grows, more and more moms are returning to the workplace to make ends meet. Sometimes, that means they must go out of town on business trips, leaving the children at home with their father, grandparents or other caregiver. Needless to say, this separation can be difficult for a child to understand, especially if her mommy has never left home before.

The children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, by Phaedra Cucina, is a wonderful way to open up a conversation with your child about an upcoming trip or to help her understand your absence while you’re gone. The book features a little girl whose mother has gone on a business trip. Although her mom gave her a big hug and kiss when she left, and calls every night, the little girl still misses her! The book talks about what Mommy might be doing on her trip, like riding on trains or flying in planes, staying in a hotel and eating out. It also explains that Mommy works to help their family and that it makes her happy! Best of all, this book assures children that their traveling mother loves them very much and always comes back! As a bonus, there are maps of the United States and the world at the end of the book so you can show your children where you’re going or have been.

My Mommy’s on a Business Trip was featured in the February/March 2009 issue of Working Mother Magazine as a Top Pick for Children’s Books. This beautifully illustrated hardcover book is available exclusively at www.mommytrip.com. And if Daddy’s the business traveler in your family, you can pre-order Daddy’s on a Business Trip, which will be published soon!

GIVEAWAY: Phaedra Cucina has offered to send a copy of My Mommy’s on a Business Trip to one lucky winner! To enter, leave a comment on this post naming a place you or your spouse has traveled to on a business trip.

For optional, additional entries:

- Put a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog. (The code is in the upper right-hand column of this site.) Post a comment with your blog’s URL.

- Follow me on Twitter (@ParentingAuthor) and tweet this giveaway. Leave a comment with the URL to your tweet.

- Post this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a link to the post.

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS or as a Follower on Blogger. Leave a comment with your subscription method.

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified entries received by midnight on Sunday, May 24, 2009. Be sure to leave an email address if you don’t have it posted on your Blogger page. The winner will be emailed and must respond within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, Kelly F!



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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life


As author Renée Peterson Trudeau notes, “Having a baby changes you on a cellular level. How you see, feel and think about everything in your life—relationships, career, spirituality, success, friendships, love—changes. You have joined a club that has a lifetime membership, and you’ll never be the same ‘you’ you were before baby.” Of course, this is all wonderful, but also a little sad, especially the last line—“you’ll never be the same ‘you.’” Many women feel they lose a part of themselves when they become mothers. That doesn’t mean they don’t adore their children or love being moms. They wouldn’t trade it for the world! And yet, it’s also natural to miss the woman they once were. Did she disappear or is she just buried beneath all the “mothering stuff”? Trudeau says, “Sometime between sleep deprivation, toilet training and homework, the question who am I now? will surface for just about every mother.”

If you’ve been wondering lately where your true self went, I have the perfect book for you: The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. This is Renée Peterson Trudeau’s year-long plan for rediscovering the woman you were before you had children. Chapters include:

Month One: Motherhood and Identity: Reconnecting with Who You Are
Month Two: The Transformative Power of Self-Care
Month Three: Creating Your Personal Support System
Month Four: Managing Your Energy: Setting Priorities, Saying No and Asking for Help
Month Five: Good Is Good Enough: A Mother’s Mantra
Month Six: Let Your Light Shine: Owning Your Personal Power
Month Seven: Unleashing Your Creativity
Month Eight: Outrageous Living: Reclaiming Adventure in Your Life
Month Nine: Changing Relationships: Staying Connected
Month Ten: Motherhood as a Spiritual Journey
Month Eleven: Reclaim Your Life: Strategies for Balance
Month Twelve: Being Present and Remembering What Really Matters

Chapters provide guided journaling exercises, a self-renewal tip for the month, action steps, recommended resources, inspirational quotes, and plenty of stories and sound advice from Renée, a career and work/life balance coach. If you’re feeling as if life is passing you by or you’ve lost your identity while you’re on the treadmill of motherhood, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal is the antidote. This life-changing book will help you to rediscover your passions and the core of what makes you you, while still embracing your cherished role as a mother. Visit www.ReneeTrudeau.com for information on the book and Renée’s Personal Renewal Groups, and to sign up for her newsletter. The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal is also available on Amazon.



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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Parent: Job Description


Dear Friends,
We're still recovering from the stomach flu at our house, but definitely feeling much better than yesterday. Hopefully, we'll be back to 100% tomorrow! A friend sent me this terrific "job description" of a parent. I recently found out that it was written by Annette Clifford, a columnist and editorial writer for Florida Today in Melbourne, Florida. She is author of the book, World’s Toughest Job: Tales of Modern Motherhood, a collection of her funniest and most heartwarming writing on family life. Please visit www.worldstoughestjob.com to read more about her and her book!

Enjoy,


Parent: Job Description

POSITION:

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Long-term, team players needed, for challenging, permanent work in an often chaotic environment.

Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts on call.

Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed.

Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

The rest of your life, must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.

Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.

Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.

Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half-million cheap, plastic toys, and battery-operated devices.

Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION:

None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE:

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION:

Get this! You pay them!

Offering frequent raises and bonuses.

A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.

When you die, you give them whatever is left.

The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS:

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

An Invitation to Attend Hearts at Home University for Moms!

Dear Readers: My kids and I have been dealing with stomach flu for the past several days, so I was grateful when this announcement popped into my e-mailbox as I haven't been in great condition to write! It's from Hearts at Home, a wonderful organization that provides resources for moms. The following tells you about their upcoming webcasts. Please check them out. I trust that you will find them to be very rewarding!


Motherhood is a valid profession.


It is that belief that inspired Jill Savage and a group of women to plan the first Hearts at Home conference 16 years ago. Today these conferences are a place where moms can go to find the encouragement and education they need to do this mothering thing right!

The problem is, not everyone can attend a Hearts at Home conference, so Hearts at Home University was created!

Hearts at Home University is a new resource designed to encourage and equip you in your journey as a parent! These live web casts, affordably priced at $15 each, allow you to tap into continuing education as a mom on a regular basis right from the comfort of your own computer.

The topics that will be covered over the Spring and Summer Semester include:

“Is There Really Sex after Kids” with Jill Savage
“She’s Gonna Blow” with Julie Barnhill
“Redefining Romance” with Mark and Jill Savage
“Keeping Your Ducks in a Relative Row” with Karen Ehman

For information on dates and times, or to register go here.


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Friday, May 08, 2009

May 9th Is Lost Sock Memorial Day – Celebrate with Free Socks from LittleMissMatched!


How often have you been sorting the laundry and come up with a single, unmatched sock? It happens all the time! Where do those lost socks go? Is there a little gremlin who hangs out in dryers and steals them? Do the socks die and go to footwear heaven? It’s a mystery that people have been trying to solve for years. To commemorate this great dilemma, I invite you to celebrate Lost Sock Memorial Day on May 9th! It’s a day set aside to remember those socks that have been lost throughout the year.

LittleMissMatched.com is offering readers a great way to do that. They’ve been trying for years to combat the problem of the missing sock by offering a line of colorful mismatched socks in packs of three! That’s right…none of their socks match, and they come in packs of three. So, it doesn’t matter if you lose one. You’ve always got a spare, and you can combine them with any other socks since none of them are identical anyway!

I have to tell you that I LOVE these socks. I have five sets of them, and I wear them all the time. I also gave some to a friend’s daughter, who’s in third grade, and she went crazy for them! They’re so much fun. And LittleMissMatched socks are available for the entire family. (They have other great products, too!)

In honor of Lost Sock Memorial Day, LittleMissMatched is currently offering a Buy One Get One Free sale through May 11, 2009. Just select one 3-pack of socks from their special sale page and get a second pack of your choice for free! Click here to see the sale page and pick out your socks. When you get to the checkout, enter promo code BUY1GET1. That’s all there is to it! Hurry because the sale will end soon, and it will be another full year before the next Lost Sock Memorial Day!

P.S. You can also check out their fun page for kids, which offers fun ideas and crafts for what to do with single socks!





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