Monday, June 18, 2018

Spotlight and Giveaway: "The Nanny Manual: How to Choose & Nurture the Perfect Childcare Partner" by Alyce Desrosiers

About the book
What’s the secret to hiring the right nanny? This is the question posed by clinical social worker, nanny consultant and author, Alyce Desrosiers, in her informative new book, The Nanny Manual: How to Choose & Nurture the Perfect Childcare Partner (Chirp Publishing, May 2018, $12.95). The thought of leaving your child in the care of a stranger can seem daunting—but it doesn’t have to be that way. With compassion and clarity, The Nanny Manual takes parents on a journey of self-discovery through their heart, soul and mind to help them with one of the most important hiring decisions they’ll ever make. Whether investigating the viability of choice for working mothers, debunking the myth of perfection that is Mary Poppins, or exploring the minefields of emotions, values and the hiring process, The Nanny Manuel prepares parents for that important day when they leave their child in the care of another.

"If you’re worried about hiring a stranger to care for your child, this book is for you!" —Kate Purmal, CEO, CFO and COO, entrepreneur, author, mother and nanny employer

Excerpt

When Wishful Thinking Meets Reality: The Elusive Search for Mary Poppins
It should come as no surprise that many parents feel conflicted as they decide whether to continue to work or stay home after their child is born. Shouldn’t a mother be home to nurture and raise her child just as her mother did? Isn’t that her role as a parent? If mothers decide to return to work and hire a nanny, are they abdicating their role and sending the wrong message to the next generation? The myth of Mary Poppins perpetuates the idea that the perfect nanny is not only available but exists in the first place. These outsized expectations crash into reality when parents start the process of looking for a nanny, and can crop up repeatedly as the ongoing relationship with a nanny is forged. Having realistic expectations going into the process can save parents a world of time and heartache.

Following is a list of the things parents wish for—and the reality they discover.

An easy, simple and quick search
Post a few ads online, receive a few applications, and voilĂ ! The perfect nanny is found. This scenario, though unlikely, is what many parents imagine and wish for when they think of hiring a nanny. The harsh reality can be quite the opposite. The challenge for parents, whether doing a self-search or using the services of a nanny placement agency, is how to choose a stranger who has all the ideal traits of Mary Poppins while recognizing that the market comprises a vast assortment of women, many of whom have these skills and many more who don’t.

A known entity: Someone we can trust
In the U.S., literally anyone can post a notice online, on a church bulletin board or through word of mouth that they want to care for children. Compare that to someone working in a childcare center who must present proper credentials in order to get the job. A working mother begins her nanny search in this frightening arena, entering a market of unlicensed and unregulated caregivers, many of whom should never be caring for children in the first place. The most worrisome issue a mother confronts as she begins the search process for a nanny is finding someone she can trust.

Wisdom and knowledge: Someone who knows intuitively how to care for kids
Mr. and Mrs. Banks didn’t have to tell Mary Poppins what to do. In fact, they were barely involved at all, and yet this magical nanny took perfect charge of everything from loving and caring for each of the children to cleaning their rooms and overseeing their bedtime routine. Mary Poppins never left a messy kitchen, dirty children, clothes unwashed or a reheated takeout meal on the table. She didn’t require a checklist or daily reminder about the children’s schedule or prioritization of responsibilities. This type of nanny is every mom’s dream. In the 21st century, the expectation that chaos turns into order effortlessly has become a magical notion that colors the world of childcare.

This nanny is an apparition, but a real person as well. She has a mission to keep the children safe and the home fires burning. Mary Poppins makes the children feel secure because she can contain their aggression and balance their frustration and gratification, while remaining unflappable and powerful.

Boundaries: She knows her place
Mary Poppins knew when to take charge of a situation as well as when to step away and let the family have private bonding time. At the end of the Disney film, Mary’s magical umbrella speaks to her, saying, “You know, they think more of their father than they do of you.” Mary replies, “That’s as it should be.” Parents want to ensure their role is primary, both as an employer to their nanny and as parents to their children.

While the modernized concept of “boundaries” wasn’t part of the early-20th-century vernacular, Mary Poppins never overstepped them. She seemed to have the understanding that it is a mother’s role to provide safe, responsible, nurturing and loving care for her child. Giving that responsibility to someone who is a virtual stranger is not easily done, and when a mom does hand it over, she does so with the unspoken expectation that her nanny doesn’t step into her territory and usurp her role as mom. A good nanny understands the mother’s concerns and acts accordingly.

Affordability: She works for love, not money
Mary Poppins worked 24 hours a day, every day, for as long as the Banks family needed her. She didn’t receive a paycheck or benefits. It was assumed she worked for love—not for money.

Paying someone to love your children can seem counterintuitive, but that’s exactly what parents do when they hire a nanny. The feminist economist Nancy Folbre, who focuses on economics and the family, questions this odd exchange in her book The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values. As an employer, how can a parent know what she is paying for? A nanny is paid to be attentive, loving and caring. Is it possible to itemize and quantify the kind and amount of caring acts she provides? Do the cold, harsh rules of commerce apply?

Should we expect nannies to leave and stop loving a child if a better offer comes their way, if the responsibilities are too great or if the demands of the child seem impossible to manage? When you pay a nanny to care for your child, you are faced with challenging your most basic assumptions, made explicit by the Beatles’ song “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”

A nanny is the modern-day version of Mary Poppins. She is someone who fits in seamlessly with a family to make the difficult work of parenting easier. Are today’s parents prepared for this new paradigm in parenting? In both emotional and practical terms, the data suggests they may not be. Also, unlike parenting in the 1960s, today the vast majority of mothers work and the role of fathers is no longer relegated primarily to “bringing home the bacon,” but requires them to take a greater role in the care of the children. Many choose to be a stay-at-home dad and take on the daily responsibilities for raising their children.


About the author
Alyce Desrosiers is a licensed clinical social worker and the founder and managing director of Chirp Connecting Families and Nannies LLC. For over 20 years, Chirp has helped San Francisco families find, hire and employ nannies that are the right fit for their needs and lifestyle. In addition to her latest book, The Nanny Manual, she is the author of two previous books, Finding a Nanny for Your Child in the San Francisco Bay Area and Nannies for Modern Moms. Alyce is also the founder of the non-profit, The Institute for Families and Nannies, with the mission to educate, inform and support the relationships between parents and nannies to further the development of young children. For more information, visit www.tiffan.org.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a print copy of The Nanny Manual: How to Choose & Nurture the Perfect Childcare Partner. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, July 1, 2018.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (June 16-22, 2018)

Welcome to this week's Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky! I hope you'll join me in entering some great giveaways! Check this page daily to see what new giveaways have been added to the linky. You can also find lots of giveaways on my right sidebar (like gift cards?). And if you're hosting a giveaway, feel free to add it to the list below. Don't forget to share this linky on your social media pages so your friends and followers can enter.







Tuesday, June 12, 2018

GREASE: Celebrate the Fully Restored 40th Anniversary Edition with This Giveaway for a Digital Code to Watch the Movie!



When I was in my early teens, the iconic movie, GREASE, hit the theaters. My sister and I were GREASE-crazy. We had the music album and memorized all the lyrics. (I can still sing most of the songs!) It was a secret look into high school, which we hadn’t arrived at yet. It looked like fun and yet a little scary, too, with more grown-up problems than we were ready to tackle. But the wonderful songs and dancing were captivating and exciting.

It’s been many years since I saw GREASE, so I was really excited when I heard that a 40th Anniversary edition is coming out. It’s packaged as a Rydell High School yearbook that captures some of the best lines and photos from the movie. I laughed out loud as I remembered the hilarious morning announcement from Principal McGee, during which she encouraged the students, “If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”


In preparing for this review, I donned my Pink Ladies jacket and scarf, and painted my nails with OPI Grease Collection Mini Nail Lacquers!


I decided to watch one of the special features, which showed the movie with running commentary from Director Randal Kleiser and Choreographer Patricia Birch. I learned so much about the movie I’d never known before. For instance:
  • GREASE was a hit play in Chicago before it was a movie. Kleiser and Birch often pointed out scenes that were the same as the play and those that were developed just for the movie.
  • In the play, Jeff Conaway, who plays Kenickie in the movie, played the lead character, Danny Zuko. I wonder how he felt being told that he wouldn’t get the lead in the movie!
  • They just happened to shoot the scene when Rizzo sings next to a picture of Elvis on the same day that Elvis actually died (but they were unaware of it at the time).
  • I loved when Kleiser and Birch mentioned lines that the actors had adlibbed themselves, which they kept in the movie.
  • Pepsi-Cola was a sponsor of the movie. Keep your eyes open during the movie for Pepsi signs! Someone accidentally put up Coca-Cola signs during part of the shooting, and they had to fuzz them out when they edited the film.
  • John Travolta’s sister, Ellen, plays a small role as a waitress in the diner watching the prom on TV.
  • Sandy wasn’t from Australia in the play, so they had to change some of her lines to reflect her origins.
  • I saw scenes that I had completely forgotten about, like the hilarious scenes when Danny is trying to be a jock just to impress Sandy. His basketball and track auditions are priceless!

Even though I’ve always loved GREASE, it always bothered me a little bit that Sandy ended up having to change to make Danny happy. She had to “go bad” after Danny’s attempts to be more squeaky-clean failed. Why did she have to change instead of him? Perhaps today’s version would have ended a little differently, and this is a good point to discuss if you’re watching this with your children. (Note to parents: GREASE is rated PG, but there is a scene involving a broken condom and a possible pregnancy.) Overall, GREASE is wildly entertaining, and I love that a whole new generation is discovering it. The 40th Anniversary edition is packed with special features that will entertain GREASE fans for hours.



GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a digital code redeemable at Paramount Movies for this newly restored version of GREASE! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this film, along with a jacket and nail polish, as a thank-you for sharing this information. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Florida Prepaid Is Giving You Money for College with the 529 Summer Jump-Start Promotion!

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
I have four children. Can you imagine what it costs to send all four kids to college? Even paying for one child’s education is often beyond a family’s budget, which means paying off student loans for years to come. Knowing this, I got smart and started saving long before my boys went to college. Once it was time for my first two kids to start their university careers, we were all stress-free because we knew their education was paid for. Both boys earned their bachelor’s degrees without taking out a single loan or incurring debt, and we were able to do this thanks to the Florida Prepaid College Board.

Now, you may be thinking, “That’s great for you, but I don’t live in Florida, and my state doesn’t have that kind of program.” And while it’s true that some of the Florida Prepaid Plans are for Florida residents, there is an excellent option for those who don’t live in-state: a Florida 529 Savings Plan. The advantages of a 529 Savings Plan are numerous:

• It's flexible, allowing you to contribute whatever and whenever your budget allows. And with 11 investment options, you can be as aggressive or as conservative as you’d like.
• It’s never too early or too late to start saving. Get a plan while your children are babies or in their teens. Every little bit helps.
• Funds can be applied to all qualified educational expenses, from tuition and fees to dorm and supply costs.
• Funds can be used for public and private schools nationwide and, even in some cases, study-abroad programs.
• Florida 529 Savings Plan earnings grow tax-free.
• Friends and family members can contribute through the gifting portal.

And if you enroll by June 30, 2018, you can take advantage of the 529 Summer Jump-Start Promotion!

• Open a tax-advantaged Florida 529 Savings Plan, and they'll put $25 in your account.
• Set up a monthly contribution for as little as $25, and they'll add another $25!

(This promotion is limited to the first 5,000 new accounts opened between May 29, 2018 and June 30, 2018.)

The sooner you open a plan, the more you’ll be able to save by the time your child gets to college. Not only is this a gift to your child, but it’s a gift to yourself because you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that your child’s future is being taken care of. I have two more children (twins!) who will be going to college in four short years, and it feels great knowing that we are financially prepared for this huge milestone in their lives. Click here and take advantage of the 529 Summer Jump-Start Promotion before June 30 and open an account today!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

DVD Review and Giveaway: "I Can Only Imagine"

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
The #1 Inspirational Movie of the Year Comes Home on Digital on June 5 and Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on June 12

Dennis Quaid and Trace Adkins star in this inspiring true story behind MercyMe’s beloved hit song. Running from a troubled home life and a broken relationship, Bart Millard found escape in music. Hitting the road in a decrepit tour bus, Bart and his band MercyMe set out on an amazing journey none of them could have ever imagined, in this uplifting, music-filled movie that beautifully illustrates the power of forgiveness and God’s love.

Starring in the film are up-and-coming Broadway star J. Michael Finley (Les Miserables) and Golden Globe® nominee Dennis Quaid (2011, Best Actor – Limited Series or Television Motion Picture, The Special Relationship; 2003, Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, Far from Heaven), as well as Trace Adkins (The Lincoln Lawyer, Traded), Priscilla C. Shirer (War Room), Cloris Leachman (The Last Picture Show, Spanglish), and Madeline Carroll (Flipped).

Experience the uplifting story that shares the power of forgiveness when I Can Only Imagine arrives on Digital June 5 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand June 12 from Lionsgate and Provident Films. The home entertainment release of I Can Only Imagine features over 3 hours of extras including 7 deleted scenes, 7 in-depth featurettes, an audio commentary, and more!

My Review
I haven't been as impacted by a movie as this one in a long time. All I can say is that I Can Only Imagine is life-changing. If you've ever wondered if God can change lives, this true story shows that He can. You'll discover the power of forgiveness and overcoming obstacles, of having faith when there seems to be no hope. The actors in this movie were perfectly cast. Dennis Quaid was particularly powerful as the father we'd all hate to have. But somehow, God turned his evil into something good. I hope you'll make a special effort to watch this movie and share it with everyone you know.

Watch the Trailer


Follow I Can Only Imagine Online
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icanonlyimaginemovie/
Instagram: @icanonlyimaginemovie
Twitter: @onlyimaginefilm
Buy: https://icanonlyimagine.com/buy

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a DVD copy of the film, I Can Only Imagine! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, June 24, 2018.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (June 9-15, 2018)

Rain, rain, go away! Here in South Florida, it seems like it's been raining for weeks! But as long as it's not a hurricane, I'm happy. If you're stuck indoors like me, join me in entering some giveaways! Check this page daily to see what new giveaways have been added to the linky. You can also find some great giveaways on my right sidebar. And if you're hosting a giveaway, feel free to add it to the list below. Don't forget to share this linky on your social media pages so your friends and followers can enter. Stay dry!






Celebrate the Blu-ray and DVD release of “Sherlock Gnomes” with a Giveaway for the Movie and a Fun Activity Pack!


About the Movie:
When Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) discover their friends and family have gone missing, there’s only one gnome to call -- the legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp). Working together, the mystery takes them beyond the garden walls and across the city on an unforgettable journey to save the day and bring the gnomes home.

A hilarious and heartfelt adventure the whole family can enjoy, Sherlock Gnomes brings the fun home on Digital June 5, 2018 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD June 12 from Paramount Home Media Distribution and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures (MGM).

Boasting an all-star cast of voices, including Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Mary J. Blige, Sherlock Gnomes is a rollicking adventure from the director of Kung Fu Panda!

Watch the Trailer!


My Son’s Review:
Sherlock Gnomes was an enjoyable movie with many funny parts and interesting twists. When their gnome friends go missing, Gnomeo and Juliet have to try to find them. With the help of Sherlock Gnomes and his partner, Watson, they have to figure out where all the gnomes disappeared to. They get chased by gargoyles, and I liked how they figured out that they could dissolve them with water because of the material they were made of. When they solved the mystery and found the gnomes, I was surprised at who the kidnapper was. I would recommend this movie to people who love fun movies and mysteries with lots of humor.

Sherlock Gnomes Blu-ray Combo Pack
The Blu-ray Combo Pack is loaded with nearly 45 minutes of bonus content. Meet the all-star cast, including Johnny Depp, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, and discover how this hilarious family adventure was brought to life. Plus, enjoy the new music video "Stronger Than I Ever Was," learn how to draw some of your favorite Gnomes, and much, much more! The Combo Pack includes access to a Digital copy of the film as well as the following bonus content:

Gnome is Where the Heart Is – Go behind-the-scenes with the all-star cast
All Roads Lead to Gnome: London Locations in Sherlock Gnomes
Miss Gnomer: Mary J. Blige and the Music of Sherlock Gnomes
Stronger Than I Ever Was – Enjoy the brand-new music video performed by Mary J. Blige
How to Draw – Learn how to draw your favorite characters: Sherlock Gnomes, Watson, Moriarty, Goons
Animating Sherlock Gnomes – Discover the magic behind the movie’s animation

Sherlock Gnomes DVD:: The disc includes the feature film in standard definition.

Follow Sherlock Gnomes Online!
www.SherlockGnomes.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherlockGnomes
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SherlockGnomes
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/SherlockGnomes/



GIVEAWAY


One lucky winner will receive the Sherlock Gnomes Blu-ray Combo Pack, plus the Activity Pack featured above! Open to U.S. residents only. This giveaway ends on Friday, June 22, 2018, at 11:59 PM EDT. Enter through the Rafflecopter below.

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the movie to facilitate my review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (June 2-8, 2018)

Happy June! It's hard to believe it's already here. It's the official start of hurricane season here in Florida (boo!) and the start of my kids' summer break (yay!). Let's add to the excitement of the month by entering some giveaways! Check this page daily to see what new giveaways have been added to the linky. You can also find some great giveaways on my right sidebar. And if you're hosting a giveaway, feel free to add it to the list below. Don't forget to share this linky on your social media pages so your friends and followers can enter. Good luck!