Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your Little Ones

As we all know by now Earth Day was April 22nd. So this got me thinking of some fun things we can do with our children to celebrate Earth Day, and how important it is to practice being green. I have to admit my husband who I have affectionality named, "Captain Green Peace", is really looking forward to this week’s blog.

I am almost ashamed to say, that I was not always so conscious when it came to mother Earth. That is until I met my husband. I remember when we were still in the dating phase he would go through my garbage on a regular basis to sort out recyclable items (and yes, I still married this man). Over time my husband made me aware of the importance of doing things that are right for the environment, and to ensure that our children and our children's children will have thriving rainforests, healthy seas, clean air, and an intact eco-system for years to come.

There is more we can do on an individual basis. Teaching our children the importance of Earth Day is the first step, as they will be our legacy and the caretakers of our planet in years to come. While it is important to explain to our children what Earth Day represents, and that it should not be something we practice for one day, rather every day.

Here are some great examples of how we can walk the walk, and demonstrate to our children how to live Earth Day every day.

1. Celebrate the animals that inhabit the Earth: This is a great chance to build a birdhouse or a feeder with your little one. Be sure to visit your local craft store for some great tips and ideas. Another idea is to make a visit to your local zoo or farm, and share why it is important to be kind and respect animals.

2. Get down and dirty: Take some time to start a garden, or even to plant some herbs or flowers in some potting containers. This is an activity kids will love since most relish getting messy and playing in the dirt, plus you can enjoy the beautiful flowers, herbs and veggies that will bloom and grow.

3. Start a recycling center in your home: If you are not already doing this, now is your chance, no more excuses. It is super easy, just grab some colored plastic bins and label accordingly; green for plastics, blue for glass, yellow for paper products, and orange for aluminum.

4. Get crafty: Wondering what to do with those left over egg/ milk cartons, empty rolls of toilet paper/paper towels, aluminum cans or plastic bottles. I've got the perfect website for you. is a great place to get some fun craft projects to do with your kids and help spark their creativity. Happy crafting.

5. Host a swap party: So your kids are no longer interested in their toys, books, clothes or CD's.... have a swap party with your neighbors. You will be surprised how someone's old items become new again for someone else. I even saw on an Oprah episode where neighbors traded furniture in order to redecorate on a budget.

6. Get unplugged: We live in an age where we have technological advancements beyond our wildest dreams (laptops, iPods, blackberries, video games, etc). Unfortunately with all this technology we have become more disconnected with the ones we love the most, while driving up our need for energy and fuel. So now is the time to disconnect from all our gadgets, and reconnect with our families, go for a bike ride, a hike, a walk in the park, or spend a day at the beach. You may just find that you not only reconnect with family, but also get tuned into the beauty that surrounds you.

Try some if not all of these activities, and teach your children energy conservation; recycling; increasing plant and tree growth; respect nature; save water; reduce toxins in the air; keep the environment clean; planting trees and flowers to increase oxygen; reduce air pollution; and love and respect all animals who inhabit the earth.

One last thing before I sign off, I received word from the On The Fly Bottle girls that a FREE PRODUCT OFFER is coming soon. Be sure to follow my blog, in addition to twitter and facebook to qualify. Stay posted for more details to follow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Avoid a Bad Playdate...Be on the Lookout for the Following Moms

Just when you thought the nightmares of dating during your single years where behind you, you meet Mr. Right, have a baby and begin a whole new level of dating. What I am talking about is commonly referred to as the "Play date", typically when two moms and their respective children get together to serve a dual purpose, kids get to interact, socialize and play, but more importantly moms get to hangout and enjoy the company of another adult.

Little did I know that play dates would be even more difficult than my years of dating when I was a singleton. I found an amazing article on, where the author nails the entire "Play dating" experience perfectly. "You know how it goes: love the mom, but her spawn has surely sprung from Satan’s loins -- or conversely, you adore the child but his mom is so insufferable you can’t believe they’re from the same toxic gene pool." I also agree with the author when she comments, "Play dating is also more painful than dating, because all the imagined slights or rejections are magnified when your precious child is involved -- and therefore, taken all the more personally."

Having said all this below, is a list of moms to look out for when getting involved with play dates. Thanks for this amazing cheat sheet. With this new insight, hopefully you can avoid getting into a play date situation you simply can't get yourself or your little one out of. Enjoy!

1. The Drop & Go Mom: This mom is not looking to build any type of lasting relationship, rather she is looking for a place to unload her kids for a few hours. It may go something like this," The kids are getting along so well, would you mind if I ran a quick errand?" You reluctantly agree only to have her come back 2 1/2 hours later with a fresh mani/pedi. (ARGGGHHH!)
2. The Loiterer Mom : Basically this is the mom that is so starved for adult interactions, she does just this. Loiter that is. You may start by sending subtle hints that you and your little one need to get going, but they only seem to fall on deaf ears. Before you know it is past dinner time, and you are wishing you had presidential security detail to escort you away from this woman.
3. The "Baby Call" Mom: Back in the single days this was referred to as the "Booty Call", but now that I am married, a mom, and have a baby it has now evolved into the "Baby Call". You know this mom, she is the one that calls without warning, and always at the worst time (usually the late afternoon). She is bored and looking for a good time (for her kid that is). You always wish you had the nerve to say no to the "Baby Call" mom, and afterwards you feel used and hate yourself for being so weak.
4. The Stalker Mom: No, I did not say "Soccer" mom, I said "Stalker" mom. This is the mom that becomes obsessed by the company of you and your child. Yes, creepy, I know. She is very hard to shake off and despite countless lame excuses, and multiple refusals she just doesn't take no for an answer. Basically if you find yourself screening calls, avoiding playgrounds and other places she might frequent, you may have a "Stalker" mom on your hands. Good luck with this one, because you'll need it.
5. The Bad Girl/ Crazy Mom: She is the unconventional mom who initially is super alluring. She is fearless and seems to have a handle on everything. She is so fearless that she has no conscious about calling out other moms on the playground, and other confrontational acts. You soon realize the initial cool factor is just good old-fashioned narcissism, and in true fashion, she flakes out on play dates at the last second, and doesn't call when she says she will.
6. The Nice Mom(aka June Cleaver): This mom is nice to everyone (in most situations). She keeps a lovely home, and her children seem to be near perfect. She makes lunch and snacks from scratch, and is always perky and sweet (I would be too if I had Lithium sprinkled in my morning coffee). The trade off is that the nice mom is boring to be around, and never shares gossip because it's just not the nice thing to do.
7. The Swinger Mom: Again like the Bad Girl/ Crazy mom the swinger mom just can't commit. In fact play dates are group encounters. If you are looking for a mom to grab coffee with and chat, keep looking this isn't the mom for you. But if you're up for kids running all through your house, followed by a sea of toys, goldfish crumbs, and sippy cups then she may just be the mom for you.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You know you need a time-out when....

First, I would like to say thanks to my big sister Valerie for inspiring this long overdue topic. My poor sister finds herself in the same scenario, as most of us mom's. Let me create the picture for you. It goes a little something like this:

You have a crazy ass day that started somewhere around 6:00am in the morning with your toddler waking up before her usual wake time, only to be followed with the fact that she refuses to eat what you have prepared for breakfast. In fact she protests so hard that the breakfast you took the time to make has been launched off her highchair tray only to land all over the wall and floor (ARGHHHH!). But somehow you keep your cool, and try not to over react, and think to yourself, “This will not be the tone of my entire day". After cleaning up the mess and find something that your toddler will eat, you take a moment to celebrate the small victory. Little do you realize what the rest of the day, has in store. I'll fast forward a little so I don't bore you, but basically after dealing with a full thermo nuclear meltdown in the middle of the grocery store, the dog deciding he wanted to snack on one of your favorite pairs of shoes, your manic toddler refusing to take an afternoon nap, and your husband calling to say he will be getting home late. At this point, you can imagine my sister was ready to start vodka IV drip. Alright, I am exaggerating a tad. But all kidding aside, when you find yourself at the absolute boiling point and you know what I mean if you have kids.... It's time for a mommy time-out.

Here are some great suggestions for just when an occasion arises:

1. Retail therapy (need I say more).

2. Hit the Spa. Whether for a massage, facial, mani or pedi, you owe it to yourself to enjoy some pampering and tranquility

3. Lock yourself in the bathroom light some candles and take a long relaxing bath, of course if someone is able to watch your kids, if not you will have to postpone until the little ones are in bed.

4. One of my personal favorites, gather a collection of your favorite magazines or any other good read, put on your favorite lounge wear and retreat to a quiet place in your home (if one exists?).

5. Catch- up on the endless shows that you have digitally recorded, but never took the time to watch.

6. And of course the Holy Grail of mommy time-outs, Girls Night Out! (dinner, drinks, gossip, just what every mom needs to recharge her battery for the next round with the kids).

Lastly, I came across a great book titled Mother's Need Time-Out Too, by three moms Susan: "The organizer" mother of four; Anne: "The Enthusiast" mother of twins and a boy; and Katrin: "The Free Spirit" mother of three. These women discovered that moms everywhere, whether they have careers or stay at home, want to do the best job they can, but are often overwhelmed by the hectic pace of modern motherhood. They learned that being selfish isn’t always bad. In fact state, it's good to be selfish- it actually makes you a better mother. With mother's day quickly approaching I highly recommend this book as a nice gift for the moms in your life.

While on the subject of Mother’s Day, I just got word again from the On the Fly girls that there will be an upcoming promo in honor of Mother's Day. Be sure to follow my blog for more details, on how to score some great free stuff.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you Ready to Travel with a Toddler... Take the Quiz

It seems to be that time of the year when families emabark on spring vacations. So whether you are hitting the slopes in Park City, lounging in the tropics, or taking a cruise don't forget to take the "Are you Ready to Travel with a Toddler Quiz". Thanks, please find the enire quiz at

1. You're gearing up for a 10-hour drive to visit the in-laws. What time will you leave?
a) Right after our child's afternoon nap.

b) We'll leave in the evening -- probably around 8 p.m.

c) First thing in the morning, when we're all fresh and ready to go.

If you leave at night, you're less likely to be stuck in traffic, and your child will probably sleep through most of the trip. The downside to this departure time is that you may not get quite enough sleep time yourself, which can make it all the more difficult for you to care for your child in an unfamiliar environment. If that's a concern, try to divide your travel time into five-hour chunks, leaving before the afternoon nap, so your child will have minimal awake time in the car. Then, you can stop for dinner and overnight it in a hotel before finishing your trip. You'll have to do what's best for your family's situation, but the departure time for a long car trip is a very important decision.

2. You're traveling to Florida by plane and fear that your child will have a tantrum that will anger your fellow passengers. What's the best way to avoid this dreaded situation?

a) Buy a portable DVD player for the trip and bring plenty of Elmo DVDs.

b) Pack favorite books, toys, and other familiar items that will remind him of home -- with a few new toys thrown in as pleasant surprises.

c) Give him a little cold medicine before take-off.

Many parents joke about medicating their toddler for trips, but this isn't a healthy choice for parents to make unless your child is actually under the weather (in which case, it might be best to postpone your trip). And while a portable DVD player is a nice thing to have, and will probably come in very useful, it's not a practical or affordable purchase for every parent. The best way to travel on a plane with a toddler is to bring lots of familiar objects for your child to play with. Being on a plane itself will be viewed as an exciting adventure by your little one, and that alone may be enough to keep him entertained for the duration of the flight. However, flying can be a scary experience for anyone -- especially a toddler, who may not understand what is happening. Familiar toys and books from home will help your child feel safe while keeping him anchored to the things he knows.

3. Your daughter has been handling a long car ride well, but you're stuck in traffic and she's having a meltdown. What do you do?

a) Offer food, drink, and toys until something calms her down.

b) Console her until we can pull over and then let her walk around a bit to get some fresh air.

c) Let her cry it out -- she has to learn that sometimes she's just going to have to learn to go with the flow. We'll get off the road when it's time for our next meal.

Let's face it -- who doesn't get itchy legs during a car ride? Toddlers get weary of being trapped in that car seat, and when they've had enough, they're ready to announce it -- loudly and passionately. If you're stuck in traffic when the meltdown begins (it will inevitably happen at the worst possible time) you'll need to pull out a bag of tricks. Keep a goody bag with little surprises handy on car trips, and you'll find it to be money well spent. Then, for the sake of all involved, pull over at the nearest rest stop and let her stretch those adorable toddler legs for a good 20 minutes or so.

4. You're away on vacation when your child comes down with a fever of 101 degrees. What do you do?

a) Freak out! I'd call his doctor and maybe take him to the nearest emergency room if the fever continued.

b) I'd wait out the illness and treat him as I would on any other sick day -- make sure he gets lots of bed rest, fluids, appropriate medication, and extra doses of TLC.

c) I'd cancel the rest of the trip and try to get him home as soon as possible.

Sure, you may want to call your doctor to get some advice -- and that's probably a good idea. In fact, most pediatricians recommend that you do call the office if your child has a temperature reading of 101. But don't panic. Kids get germs, even while they're on vacation. And while illness may put a damper on your activities, don't schedule an early flight home just yet. Traveling is taxing to the system and it is likely to make an illness worse. If you're more than four hours away, stay put and care for your baby as you would any other time he got sick (provided he's just got a cold or a run-of-the-mill virus -- again, ask your doctor what's best). Then, when he recovers a bit, you can decide if it's best to stay or go.

5. You're at your destination, ready to sight-see, shop, and have some fun. How do you plan your day?

a) We'll sleep in, eat a leisurely breakfast, then hit all of the places on our itinerary.

b) We'll get an early start, try not to overdo it, and respect naptime, too.

c)We'll do the majority of our sightseeing after the baby's nap and stay out into the evening, hoping the little one will fall asleep in his stroller from exhaustion.

Don't waste valuable time during your vacation by sleeping in and having a late breakfast. Anyway, toddlers don't let their parents sleep in -- usually. If your toddler is sleeping late due to a screwy sleep schedule (that can happen during trips), set your alarm and wake up at a relatively early hour. Your toddler will be much more amenable to traveling around, seeing sights, and maybe even shopping a bit during the morning hours. You can go ahead and make post-nap plans for the late afternoon, but keep in mind that your toddler may sleep a long time or be crankier in the late afternoon than she would be in the morning. Whatever you do, just try to remember that it's best to plan your day with the word "early" in mind: get out early, and end the day relatively early. That's the safest way to avoid meltdowns by a toddler or exhaustion by tired parents. Again, though, be flexible -- your own situation may be different, and you have to do what will work best for your family.

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