Category - Mom

The Next Big Leap in my Life – She turns 5

MIss A turning 5

MIss A turning 5

 This little er, big girl is breaking my heart. This year Miss A turns….5. Ack, I get agida when I event think about that number. For me, being a stay-at-home mom and extremely hands-on with my girls from birth, “5 years-old” means she’s growing up. The older she gets the less she needs mommy, she’ll be in Kindergarten in the Fall and inevitably I’ll see her less during the week, and that means that some day, she’ll be grown, hopefully go to college and have her own family.

Now before I get too far ahead of myself, because I often tend to do that, {I’m a worrywart you see} I know this is the normal progression of parenthood, however it seems like a big leap to me. Before she turns five, and goes off to Kindergarten I want to enjoy the rest of this school year and summer celebrating four!

We have decided make a checklist of 4 big/new things to do before she goes to Kindergarten.

  1. Get her hair straightened {temporarily} for her birthday party.
  2. Take a family trip to SeaWorld, she loves exploring new things.
  3. Sign her up for a semi-competitive sport.
  4. Invite one of her friends over for a sleepover.
I think these “goals” will not only help us transition from preschooler to big girl, but make the rest of our time before Kindergarten starts even that more memorable.

honda_logo (1)

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What’s your next, “Big Leap” in life? What do you want to accomplish before that leap?

Compensation was provided by Honda via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Honda.

Welcome Back to the Wiggles – How to Help Your Child Deal with Character Changes

The Wiggles Welcome Back Greg

The Wiggles Welcome Back GregRecently Greg Page, one of the founding members of The Wiggles children’s music group,  announced he’d be returning to his original spot. If you’re in the, “new class” of parenting and only know The Wiggles as; Anthony, Jeff, Murray, and Sam, then perhaps you didn’t know that Greg Page took leave from The Wiggles in 2006 due to an unexpected illness.

Leaving the “yellow shirt” slot open, Sam Moran stepped in. Sam had been a part of The Wiggles show since 1998 and was a great addition when he stepped up to take the lead singer position for The Wiggles. Now that Greg is rejoining The Wiggles, Sam will be taking time to continue working on his own personal music ventures, (he released The Colour of Love in 2010) and also to spend time with his family.

Thankfully, there was a great person who was able to step in for a time and also step back from this position. Sam has been praised for continuing the success of The Wiggles during Greg’s leave. Yet when the day comes for Greg to rejoin the group and appear in his yellow shirt this year, there may be some confused or upset children.

With any television show there is a chance that characters will need to be replaced. I featured this story on The Fresh Beat Band replacing their, “Marina” character: What Happened to the Fresh Beat’s Marina? And with all of the traffic and comments it has had you can tell the change certainly struck a nerve in viewing homes. Recently other children’s television shows that have replaced characters or voices have been Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, and one who did it well, Blues Clues.

Not all shows give such great transition to a new character as Blues Clues with their switch from Steve to Joe, so as parents we need to learn the best ways to deal with these changes, because like it or not, they will happen. You may adapt these tips for your own child depending on their age and maturity.

  1. Watch TV with your child – this gives your child an opportunity to discuss with you and you and opportunity to ask them questions, gauge their comfort with the changes and opens lines of communication.
  2. Do your homework – if your child has a favorite show, why not set it up for a Google Alert or receive newsletters from that show so you can be abreast of changes before they even appear on the tube.
  3. Explain TV vs Reality – of course this depends on the show and your child’s age, but in an age appropriate manner discuss what they think differences between television and real-life are and have fun with it.
  4. Keep a positive attitude – so many of us parents are upset when characters change even when often, our children move on easily. When we aren’t disturbed by things, occasionally it will help our kids deal as well.
  5. Choose different programming – if your child is very upset and no amount of discussion will ease their minds choose to watch something else on TV, but keep in mind characters in some shows may change. You can always opt to watch recorded versions of that show as well to keep with the consistency however boredom is a factor there.
  6. Turn off the TV – when all else fails, or if TV seems to be more of an issue in your household, perhaps it’s time for a break from shows and the television in general. Get your kids interested in puzzles, coloring books, imaginative play, and if it’s nice weather head outside for some fresh air.

Do you have any tips to add?

Have any children’s television character switches effected your home?

Never Settle for Less – H&R Block

Jenn Grad Never Settle for Less

When I was growing up I had a plan that I was going to be the first person in my family to go to college. I was focused on moving away from my small town and making, “something of myself.” I was always very determined and my work ethic showed that intensity. Unfortunately, having a strong will isn’t always enough to get where you want to be, {it definitely helps though}.

In order to complete my goal of being the first college graduate I couldn’t do it on my own. I had to ask several people for help.

  • I asked my mother to cosign on a student loan with me
  • I inquired with my employer about working extra hours to make a few more dollars
  • I applied for a few scholarships through my school
  • I asked teachers for their recommendations to show what kind of a student I was
In this case my will to achieve this goal was completely worth asking those around me for the help I needed. In the end there was a HUGE payout. It felt so amazing to realize how much I had accomplished. On graduation day, I was filled with pride and even to this day one of the accomplishments that is close to my heart and hopefully I had the chance to inspire others around me too.
Jenn Grad Never Settle for Less

 

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by H&R Block® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of H&R Block®”

Valentine’s Day in Charlotte – Weekend Away or Date Night?

GPI Valentine's Day

Living in Charlotte, North Carolina has it’s perks. I thoroughly enjoy raising my family here, have met some amazing people, and the city is just the right size, {for me}. Charlotte has so many different areas that appeal to many, and I hope my girls can grow up as Charlotteans.

DaddyB and I have not been on a date, with each other {meaning aside from our night’s out with friends}, in a very, very, very, very long time. And if I told you exactly how many years {yes years} it has been I know some of you would shout at me. So I’m keeping that info to myself. Needless to say, we have not ventured out on the dating scene here in Charlotte, however, my local site, TheCharlotteMoms.com affords me the opportunity to visit all kinds of great places here in Charlotte that I might not have seen otherwise. I’d love to tell you about two amazing places in and around Charlotte that I would highly suggest for a Valentine’s Day treat.

Harvest Moon GrilleIf you’re looking to stay in town, no matter the reason, and want great food I love Harvest Moon Grille. Not only do they tout, “Farm to fork” food, but their Executive Chef and Proprietor, Cassie Parsons puts her whole heart into her food, and you can tell. Named Restaurateur of the Year by Charlotte Magazine, Parsons not only manages the business side of things, but she’s also a local farmer and mom too. I was lucky enough to meet with her and enjoy some delicious dishes. Here’s some of the great food we tasted on our visit:

Harvest Moon Grille Collage

Make your reservations for Valentine’s Weekend or Valentine’s Day at Harvest Moon Grille here: http://opentable.com

GPI Valentine's DayIf you’re looking for something a little more romantic however, consider a weekend getaway without the kiddos. Asheville is close enough to have a great get away, but not too far from home and the kiddos. Asheville has a lot of great places that offer romantic settings, but I recommend Grove Park Inn. Grove Park Inn has a few Valentine’s Day packages that are already set up for you, but make sure you plan in advance, because spots book quickly.

Valentine’s Day Weekend events include their Starlight & Chocolate party, dinner at your choice of one of their fine restaurants, Valentine’s Dance with dance instruction, and “It Takes Two” cooking demonstration and a commemorative portrait to remember the weekend by. Also, add a special couple’s spa appointment to make it even more romantic.

Check out some of their package choices here: http://www.groveparkinn.com/Valentine and tell them you heard about them on MommyB Knows Best it’s definitely going to be a weekend you will remember.

2 Chix Chicklet Line – Clothing for Kids

Chicklet Ice Cream Shirt

2 Chix

Now you may be familiar with 2 chix from your own experience or from one of my first ever posts here: http://www.mommybknowsbest.com/2-chix/. They are known as a fun line of maternity shirts made mostly for moms, but some for dads too. Well, recently I found out that they not only carry bump-themed gear, but they also carry kids clothing, and it’s just as cute as their other lines.

Of course I had to try them out, especially after I saw that they had this bee shirt:

Queen Bee 2 chix

I am, afterall, MommyB and have a whole bee family on my site. I thought it was appropriate, and the girls loved it, especially Miss A because she goofs around sometimes calling me, “MommyB”.

We also got to try out their “Suh-weet” t-shirt which was a white fabric, and the girls honestly looked adorable in both. The first thing I noticed after I received the shirts was the amazing shirt quality. The fabric was thick and soft too. So many of the kids clothing stores today offer cheap prices but the fabrics are so thin you have to layer so they’re not see-through, or they just don’t hold up. Having two girls, namely Baby C who’ll inevitably end up with hand-me-downs, I have to make sure that their clothes can survive the daily wear-and-tear.

When I saw the fun designs were, “velvety accents”, I must admit I was really skeptical that these t-shirt adornments would soon be ripped off by my washer and dryer. Much to my surprise, {and delight}, the shirts have held up wash after wash. No pilling, the bee and ice cream cone have stayed put, and the shirts have kept their size too.

The shirts are a little pricey for what I would normally buy the girls at $32.00 a shirt, but with the way it holds up and the fun velvet accents as opposed to normal print, I could definitely see this being a decent purchase, especially if it’s going to be handed down to one or more child in the future. Weird to call a shirt, “an investment”, but that is exactly what came to mind.

My one disappointment in 2 Chix Chicklets line: they only make them in size 2T-5 and 2T-6 in organics. I don’t dress the girls identical a lot, but once and a while is cute, {in my opinion}. What’s your opinion? Cute or not???

Chicklet Ice Cream Shirt

Check out 2 chix Chicklet line here: http://www.2chix.com/products/toddler__kids_tees/index.asp and don’t forget they also have maternity clothes for moms and fun shirts for dads, not to mention cute onesies for the wee babes too. Check them out on Facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/2chixMaternity

What is your favorite 2 Chix Chicklet shirt design?

Fun Stocking Stuffers – Christmas Coupons

Christmas

ChristmasDaddyB and I don’t normally buy a lot for each other when Christmas comes around. In fact, we will usually pick one item both of us could use and buy a joint gift for each other. We were considering a car-top carrier because of all of our trips, in the past we’ve bought theme park season passes, and this year we decided on a Keurig brand coffee maker.

I do like to get him presents from the girls though, it not only is exciting for our girls to shop for daddy, but again teaches them that we are supposed to give to others on Christmas. They love their daddy so much that asking them to help was a guaranteed, “YES!!”

I have bought a few things here and there, trying to be creative. I wanted to add one more stocking stuffer for him {hoping that he doesn’t read this, or if he does that he pretends that he didn’t.} When I was a child I remember making coupon books as gifts for my mom. I loved doing this and I think my mom liked it too, I’m sure some of you have also done this and it’s super simple. Lucky for me since my, “proverbial plate” is full.

Miss A and I sat down and brainstormed what would be fun to coupon to daddy. We mostly thought of “things that you can’t hold in your hands,” – this was the easiest way I could describe intangible gifts to her. Then, I used Picnik.com {my favorite photo editing program} and “jazzed” up the girls Christmas pictures, and switched over to paint.net {a free “paint” program.} I added some text in a fun font and put our unique gift ideas on the tags, and here’s what we came up with:

coup5

coup8

With a few easy, free programs, some cute photos, and a little bit of time on the computer you can make these for your favorite recipient this Christmas. They can “cash-in” the coupons whenever they want, or keep for sentimental reasons. Enjoy!!!

Have you made coupon books before? What is your favorite coupon for?

Bonding with Board Games

Board Game

Board Game

I grew up in a household where we regularly played board games, if I listed them all we would be here forever, but my favorites were classic games, I even was in a chess class through the YMCA.  When I left home to go to college, nanny, meet my future husband and get married, I took “game night” with me and we would regularly host fun games on nights with our friends and spend countless hours enjoying each other’s company, competing, and catching up on what was going on in our daily lives.

Now that I have my own little play mates, {let’s face it, one of the primary reasons I had kids was to have someone to play with all day long,} I get to play board games with them too. Miss A LOVES playing board games. Most of the time we play when Baby C is napping because of smaller pieces, so it gives us some good, quality, bonding time. We could play for hours, we get silly, have fun, and she’s really a good sport when I’m constantly losing {and when I’m winning too}. 

I am a huge believer of starting children young at anything you hope they will continue in the future. I have been “doing” their hair from a young age because with all the curls of their biracial hair I knew that I would have to continue this practice. DaddyB and I are instilling in them the importance of giving to others, whether it is physical items, money, or time and hard work we want them to grow up having a servant heart. Valuing family time and quality time with the people who you love is also another trait that we want to encourage. Through game nights, sitting down with the whole family with no distractions, we feel that we are teaching them how important it is to grow as a family and spend time together. God has given us these little girls as our responsibility to train up and teaching them key values in life in a big part of that. 

Do you feel the same way? 

If board games are a part of your family bonding experience here’s your chance to win some goodies. Did you know that the LEGO® company makes games? If not, you do now! LEGO® is going to give away 5 prize packs featuring: 3 LEGO Games, a $30 iTunes gift card and a copy of Gourmet Game Night for responding to this post. So make sure you leave a comment for your chance to win.

 

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LEGOSystems. The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the LEGO Brand.  Official Contest Rules

Mindbloom Life Game {Guest Post by DaddyB}

Mindbloom_Logo_SmallThe Mindbloom Life Game is a new online game and app aimed at helping you make positive changes in your life. Self-improvement systems are only effective if they’re continually used by those who are hoping to make a change. Thanks to the social gaming techniques and behavioral science tactics at its core, Mindbloom has a great shot at keeping us engaged and on the path to making those positive changes stick.

Mindbloom - Life Tree

I’m admittedly a bit of a self-help fanatic. I’ve read numerous books and I’ve used a few different productivity software programs. Mindbloom looks like nothing I have encountered. It includes points, a gaming system, and an immersive, multimedia environment centered around your life tree. The branches of the tree are based on the areas of your life that you want to improve. You can choose as many or as few as you want. They include: Career, Creativity, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, and Spirituality.

After you pick your life areas, you add the actions that you need to take to improve that area. You can create your own action or choose from the tool’s many suggested actions. For example, in the Health area, under Nutrition, there’s a pre-loaded action called: “Drink Water”. You can then schedule the actions on a calendar.

As you do your good deeds, log in, and record what you’ve done, you earn seeds which are like points that can be used to redeem things. You can use the points to unlock songs for inspiration or send a friend sunshine or water for their life tree.

Here is a great video to help understand what Mindbloom is:

Getting Social on Mindbloom – A Forest of Friends
Mindbloom’s social aspects are one of its strongest points. A healthy competition or knowing that your friend will be watching your progress could be a key factor in your success. Of course, you can only benefit from this kind of positive peer pressure if you have friends who also use Mindboom. Going through the changes and improvements with a friend can only help make you more successful.

Inspirational Aspects
I like how Mindbloom incorporates inspiration. It’s been something that I feel other personal improvement systems have lacked. Typically, they offer no more than quotes. Mindbloom has images, quotes, and even songs to provide a kind of inspirational slideshow to encourage you. What inspires one person may be drastically different from what might get someone else going. With this in mind, Mindbloom allows members to upload their own images or music. Logging in and seeing a picture that reminds you of your goal or hearing an inspirational song could have a big impact on your overall success.

Mindbloom - Inspiration

 

The Bloom App’s Reminders
The recently launched Bloom app for iPods and iPhones will help extend the benefits of Mindbloom. The app’s reminders may be entire system’s most powerful feature. Getting a reminder to stay on track with that new habit could make all the difference in the battle to make a change stick. It’s easy to forget that new commitment you’ve made when you get back into the groove of your regular day. An occasional buzz from your phone could shake you out of your routine and remind you to incorporate that new habit.

The Mindbloom program for your laptop or desktop computer if mostly free. It includes that great immersive experience that I described. There’s also a paid pro version that gives you access to all of the music and all of the images. The mobile iPhone app (Bloom) is free as well, but it seems to focus on just the inspiration and reminder aspects.

With any self-improvement system, book, or app of any kind, it all comes down to your likelihood to use it on a regular basis. I feel that Mindbloom’s social capabilities, tied into sites that you’re already engaged in, and the Bloom app’s reminders may be the biggest strengths to make it a winning software. Try it out and see if you can make those changes in your life that you’ve been putting off.

Learn more about Mindbloom from their website: http://www.mindbloom.com/ and check them out on Facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/mindbloom

This is a sponsored post and I was able to try the Mindbloom program for free in order to complete this review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, honest opinions. Yours may vary.

 

Hooray for my Birthday?

Jenn Birthday 2010

Yep, today is my birthday, I am officially another year older. Hooray, right??

I may have confused you with the question mark in my title, but let me explain. I grew up having great birthday parties, no matter how much money we had, or rather didn’t have, my mom made sure our birthdays were special, fun, and filled with great friends. There were even birthdays that held some pretty great surprises. I always looked forward to my birthday and was particularly bummed out when the water pipes burst one year at my school on my birthday and the school was closed for the entire day.

This may lead you to believe that I am crazy about birthdays, which I am, {sort of}. As you’ve seen from some of my posts, including my Birthday Bash month long series I go big {not too crazy} with my girls’ parties. I love to see the smiles on their faces, them playing with their friends, and really enjoy organizing their day and making it special. Now, that I’m a mom, perhaps like you, I take great pride in making sure my girls needs are met sometimes at the expense of my own. While I know that’s not always the best thing for me, it’s how I was raised and how I am as a mom too. Thus, one reason why when my birthday comes now I am very excited to be able to spend time with friends and my family, but I just don’t get as excited or “into it” as I used to when life was more about me.

Although, I do not go crazy about “my day” I do enjoy hearing birthday wishes, going out to dinners and piano bars 😉 with my friends, and getting sweet, thoughtful gifts as well. I also enjoy my birthday because my girls, especially Miss A, gets very excited and proud of all that she has done to prepare for Mommy’s birthday. I want to let my family know I am grateful for them and happy that they went out of their way to celebrate me. So I let them love on me a little more, let them spoil me even though I don’t necessarily need it, and enjoy my birthday celebration.

Jenn Birthday 2010

Do you feel the same way about your birthday? Totally opposite? How does your family help you celebrate? 

YesVideo {Guest Post and Giveaway – CLOSED}

YesVideo DVD

I am one who loves gifts that have thought and personality to them, not something from a shelf that anyone could get. I want to feel special and loved and YesVideo can help in creating the ideal gift for holidays, anniversaries, or any special occasion. With Christmas just around the corner this would be a perfect chance to create a gift for someone you love.

YesVideo DVD

As a child I loved making family videotapes on VHS tapes, but now we have no way to view these fun memories. Instead of having them collect dust in your house, you can now through YesVideo conveniently transfer them to DVDs. This a great service where you can send your old homemade videotapes, 35mm slides, movie film reels, prints, and digital videos and photos and have them nicely converted to a DVD or Blu-ray disc to view in your home. Through YesVideo you can also add some personalization to the DVD which is a nice feature if you are planning to use it for a gift.

So how does it work? Log onto Yesvideo.com and start the easy step-by-step guidelines for your order. I chose to send some old VHS tapes and prints that were not in digital format. When creating your DVD, you are able to choose special features like a personalized title, background, and music style. I was also able to choose the order in which the photos would be in for the DVD. Then print out a shipping label and send it off. In a few weeks you will be enjoying a new DVD format. This process can also be done through local retailers in your area; visit their website {http://bit.ly/YesVideo} for details. Read More